Hamlin Garland is mostly remembered today for his innovative collections of short stories; Main Travelled Roads is his most famous collection. It contains six stories and is an undisputed American classic.
"Under the Lion's Paw" shows an honest, hardworking farmer victimized by a greedy landlord.
Another powerful story is the semiautobiographical "Up the Coulee", about a successful son who returns from the East to find his mother and brother trapped on a poor farm, defeated in spite of their best efforts.
"Mrs. Ripley's Trip" is a tender story of an elderly couple settled in their frugal country ways, with the wife determined to realize her dream of revisiting childhood scenes.
Rounding out the collection are "The Return of a Private", "The Branch Road", and "Among the Corn Rows". Garland did not write "pretty" stories, but he describes exhilarating moments in the lives of these farm people and often highlights the strength of extraordinary characters.