Published anonymously in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (with an earlier draft also appearing as “Arrow-Tip” in The Aristidean), The Half-Breed: A Tale of the Western Frontier is one of the few known works of long-form fiction written by Walt Whitman during the earlier part of his career. It tells the story of Arrow-Tip, a Native American who falls victim to frontier prejudice after the presumed murder of local blacksmith Peter Brown. Despite his obvious innocence, he is soon sentenced to die by hanging — even though there exists evidence that could possibly exonerate him. This narrative is further complicated by the presence of Boddo, a hideously deformed hunchback who is ostracized by the white settlers due to his mixed-race heritage. Fueled by spite and anger, Boddo uses this opportunity to finally take vengeance upon those who had once persecuted and shunned him.
- Summary by ChuckW