The patriarch of the Holland family is Son Holland, whom we meet in Two for Texas. He escaped from a prison in Louisiana in 1835 with Hugh Allison, a former member of the Mason-Harp gang. Son fought at the Battle of San Jacinto and was a friend of Sam Houston and Deaf Smith, and later leaves Texas with Hugh for the Milk River country of Montana Territory.

His son was Sam Morgan Holland, who was a Confederate soldier, a drover during Reconstruction, a gunfighter, a violent alcoholic, and the lover of Rose Dunn, known as the Cimarron Rose. Later he hung up his guns and became a Baptist saddle preacher on the Chisholm Trail and the Staked Plains.

His son was Hackberry Holland, who owned ranches near Yoakum, San Angelo, and Kerrville, Texas. He was a city marshal and a Texas ranger and had a symbiotic and violent relationship with John Wesley Hardin during the infamous Sutton-Taylor feud. He first appears in the short story titled “Hack.” He is also the chief protagonist in the novel House of the Rising Sun.

Hackberry Holland the younger is the grandson whom we first meet in the story “Uncle Sidney and the Mexicans.” He was a Navy corpsman who was wounded at the Chosin Reservoir and spent almost three years in a place called the Bean Camp in No Name Valley, a godforsaken piece of wasteland in North Korea. He narrates his war experience in the novel Lay Down My Sword and Shield. Much later in life, we meet him again in the novels Rain Gods and Feast Day of Fools after he has given up his law career and become a sheriff on the Tex-Mex border.

Billy Bob Holland is Hack the younger’s cousin. He, too, was a Texas Ranger and later a lawyer. We first meet him in the novel Cimarron Rose, in which he narrates the love affair between Sam Morgan Holland and Rose Dunn. He is also the protagonist in Bitterroot, Heartwood, and In the Moon of Red Ponies.

Weldon Holland is also the grandson of Hackberry Holland the older. Weldon meets Bonnie and Clyde in the novel Wayfaring Stranger and is forever changed by the experience. In one way or another, Bonnie Parker is with him from the Battle of the Ardennes to the Golden Age of Hollywood and the neo-colonial intrigue of the postwar years.

Holland family stories

featuring Hackberry Holland

Each of the above titles are written as stand-alones,
but the characters are all connected as descendants
of the original Hackberry Holland.

Billy Bob Holland stories

  1. Cimarron Rose (1997)
  2. Heartwood (1999)
  3. Bitterroot (2001)
  4. In the Moon of Red Ponies (2004)