"The Lonesome Gods" by Louis L'Amour is a great historical fiction around 1820 of the southwestern part of California. L'Amour is very graphic in his stories, with a map of the area of that time. Included in this story is the desert around Palm Springs and Los Angeles. The realism of the area is put into a fictional story that holds one until the book is finished.
At the age of six, Johannes Verne and his father, Zackery, are journeying to LA from Santa Fe by a wagon with six other people. Zack has lunger disease and will die soon and he wants to go to LA where Johannes' grandfather lives. The grandfather felt betrayed for he wanted to keep the blood line of his Spanish heritage. His daughter ran off and married Zack, a common man of the US who was not Spanish. He wanted Zack dead, along with Johannes. Johannes' mother died from an illness, leaving Zack in charge of Johannes. With months to live, Zack heads west with the boy. Arriving at a natural hot spring at the foot of Mt. San Jacinto, Zack was told that his father-in-law was out to kill him, so he stayed in the Palm Springs local. Johannes is befriended by the Cahuilla Indians and learns the way of the Indian. Zack is killed and Johannes goes to LA to live with a lady, Miss Nesselrode, who he met on the wagon out of Santa Fe. Johannes becomes educated and lives a good life until his identity is discovered. His grandfather wants him dead, but Johannes is to smart to let that happen. A chase through out the south deserts, leaves many dead but Johannes prevails and gets to the Palm Springs area where he meets up with an old Indian friend. Now the hunted becomes the hunter and Johannes travels to LA to settle the dispute.
L'Amour has written a good historical account of this time. The development of LA and Palm Springs has brought us what we have today. The story puts it in an interesting and thrilling way! There is mystery through out the story and one does not know until the end.