News of the World by Paulette Jiles is a great piece of Texas historical fiction. In my estimation, it catches the tone of the time and location as well as Lonesome Dove or Cormac McCormic's Border Trilogy and a National Book Award Finalist as well.
The main character, Captain Jefferson Kidd, is a twice widowed Confederate veteran who makes his living as an itinerant news reader. He carries the most recent newspapers from one remote settlement to another in north Texas charging anyone interested to listen as he reads articles aloud. He's lived through three wars and fought in two of them. He enjoys the comparatively peaceful life on the road.
In Wichita Falls, he's offered $50 to deliver a young White girl to her family in San Antonio. The army has rescued her from the Kiowa Indians. Four years earlier the Indians attacked her family ranch. The child, Johanna, saw the Indians slaughter her family. She was adopted into the tribe and has forgotten her native language and customs.
The 400 miles from Wichita Falls to San Antonio is dangerous territory with rough terrain. Two criminals set on stealing Johanna to sell as a prostitute follow them.
The two develop a bond along the way. Johanna gradually recalls her English but hates wearing shoes. She’s remarkably resilient for a child who has seen horrific bloodshed and been kidnapped twice.
Once they reach San Antonio, Johanna is clearly not welcome by her aunt and uncle. Captain Kidd is faced with a moral dilemma. Does he leave the child where she legally belongs or does he kidnap her for a third time?