The publication of Miller Cane has been made possible with generous support from Sprint.


WRAP PARTY: Toast to Miller Cane

The final installment of Miller Cane will appear in the August 15 issue of the Inlander.

And on Aug. 22, we’re going to celebrate the occasion with a wrap party — with drinks, a short reading, a conversation between Samuel Ligon and Jess Walter and music by BaLonely. The free event will be held at the Big Dipper, at 171 S. Washington, with doors at 7, conversation at 8 and music at 9.

More details at Inlander.com/wrapparty.

Buckle up, gentle reader, Sam Ligon is about to take you on an outrageous road trip across American history and hysteria.”

— Jess Walter, author of the New York Times bestseller Beautiful Ruins



They were a week into the Cedar Creek massacre when Heffner came out of the Liberty Diner, wiry and lantern jawed, his big, buzzed head jerking this way and that as he scanned the street and sidewalk. Miller was parking the rental, Carleen perched on her seat beside him, prepared to jump out the second he killed the engine. Heffner looked up and down the street, walking right toward Miller and Carleen.


Carleen had never been to Yellowstone, and Miller thought it might be a good distraction on their way to wherever they were going — the Little Bighorn first, then deeper into the country and away. He’d only slept for a few hours since leaving Walla Walla, and he tossed and turned now, in his bed at the back of the motorhome. Carleen hadn’t slept much either, but she wasn’t having trouble sleeping in her loft now. Miller was too wired, too disturbed by Connor’s appearance in Pendleton. How had he found them? Dena hadn’t seen him since that day at their mother’s nursing home. Showing up like he did last night seemed like proof he could track them anywhere.


CHAPTER SIX Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five PART ONE Originally published in the April 4, 2019, issue of the Inlander. PREVIOUSLY... Miller Cane learned from his sister in Spokane that a man was in town looking for him. Miller couldn’t be sure...


It was a hundred and six degrees at the Whitman Mission a few miles west of Walla Walla, and smoky from the fires still burning up the West. The word “massacre” was not mentioned in the National Park Service material regarding the deaths at the site in 1847, though there were books for sale with titles like The Whitman Massacre and A Survivor’s Recollections of the Whitman Massacre and Eliza Spalding’s Whitman Massacre Cookbook. Carleen wrote her name in the visitor register and insisted Miller do the same.


They’d arrived at his sister’s house in Spokane the night before and now it was too early to be awake. But they were awake, Miller at the kitchen table with a newspaper, Carleen beside him painting a domestic scene in watercolors — a house with a door, four windows, a chimney under rising curlicues of smoke, a cat in a tree, six seagulls, a sun and a rainbow and three tiny tornadoes. “What about people?” Miller said, and Carleen said, “The people are next.”


If this were a history, the dates would matter. If the dates were wrong, the names would matter. If the names and dates were wrong, which they would be, the places would matter, because places always matter. Even when they’re wrong.


Miller headed west toward Washaway Beach, the wrong way if he was trying to get to Port Townsend, but he hadn’t been out there since he was a kid and wanted to see how much more of it had washed away. He told Carleen about it as they drove, how it had been a beach town in the 19th century, North Cove, with a cannery and a lighthouse and hotels, and how it had all fallen, piece by piece, into the ocean over the years.


Miller Cane was six days into the Rosedale massacre when Heffner slid into the Legion Hall during an afternoon animal session. Miller didn’t recognize him at first, was focused on calming a howling beagle he’d just settled into a survivor’s lap. But the rage vibe was unmistakable, a disruption in the air


Miller Cane is being published for the first time in the pages of the Inlander, the award-winning weekly paper covering the Inland Northwest. The first two parts appeared in the Sept. 13, 2018, issue; going forward, short installments will appear every week until the book is finished, sometime in late 2019.