Lost and Found in Nebraska

Book Cover


2000s,19th Century,1920s & '30s

Alan Wilkinson

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When Steve Kaminski figured out that Dad wasn't his real father he left the family ranch and never returned. 45 years later, his dying his sister begs the 65 year old drifter to come home. There a chance meeting with a history professor sets him on the road to unearthing some shocking truths.


Historical Fiction,Drama,Other

Short Summary

When Steve's sister Wanda wires him the money he quits his job as motel handyman, loads up his truck and heads for Nebraska. He's not been back in 45 years and wouldn't be now if she wasn't dying. All goes well until he runs into a spring blizzard - and meets a historian named Lyn.

Lyn and Steve are visiting the ranch he will inherit when his sister dies. Sun's out, wind blowing, grass waving. In helping Steve figure out his past she's been drawn to him - and the Sandhills landscape. Both are wary, both flawed, but their parting words suggest they might get it together.


the Nebraska Sandhills - cattle country

Based on a True Story


Plot - Premise

Internal Journey/Rebirth,Quest

Plot - Other Elements

Meaningful Message

Mature Audience Themes

Information not completed

Main Character Details

Name: Steve Kaminski

Age: 65

Gender: Male

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Aggressive,Complex,Lone Wolf,Blunt,Masculine,Adventurous

Additional Character Details

Name: Lyn Collier

Age: 53

Gender: Female

Role: Mentor

Key Traits: Aspiring,Empathetic,Faithful,Educated,Strong Moral Code

Additional Character Details

Name: Mari Sandoz

Age: 15-66

Gender: Female

Role: emotional

Key Traits: Adventurous,Complex,Confident,Engaging,Heroic,Educated,Honorable,Unapologetic,Visionary,Outspoken

Additional Character Details

The author has not yet written this

Development Pitch

Meet Steve Kaminski. At 19 he was heir to a 10,000 acre cattle ranch in the rich Nebraska Sandhills. Till he worked out that the man he called Dad wasn’t his father. Then he beat the old man, lit out and never went back. He’s 65 now, working as a handyman, living out of the back of a truck in eastern Oregon. His sister owns the ranch. They haven’t spoken in twenty years. Out of the blue, she calls him. She’s in a care home with terminal cancer. He has to come and get her out, let her live out her days in the place settled by their beloved Grandpa in 1887. He refuses. His truck needs fixing. He's broke. Home has too many bad memories. She pleads with him, wires money, hints at rewriting her will. Reluctantly, he packs up the truck and drives east. Stranded in a small town in Nebraska by a spring blizzard, he meets professor Lyn Collier. She’s researching the life of local writer Mari Sandoz, author of Crazy Horse and the classic biography of her father, Old Jules. Steve knows that name. Grandpa often spoke of him. Said he was a great man. Lyn says no, he was a nasty sonofabitch. The weather breaks. Steve visits his sister, then the old, abandoned ranch house. He finds a photograph of this Sandoz woman, signed to his Dad and marked with a kiss. And a letter. The two were teenage sweethearts. Steve is now on a journey of discovery. With Lyn’s help he’s going to find out who his real father was, why he died and who was responsible.

About The Author

Alan Wilkinson is a British writer with a long-standing interest in the American West, particularly Nebraska. After 15 years of manual work - gardener, freight train guard, factory hand, rat-catcher - he turned to full time writing in 1993. He has written 35 books, 200+ TV scripts (drama and docu). Included are a number of corporate histories, some travel, and ghosted bios of: a policeman, a drug smuggler, a cricketer, a British bounty hunter, a craft brewer and several self-made men. He reads and assesses nonfiction MSS for The Literary Consultancy.

Target Audiences

Age: 35-54,55+

Target Gender: Female Leaning,Male Leaning,Universal

Group Specific

Information not completed

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: self-published

Publisher: self published

Year Published: 2022

Hard Copy Available







Steve struggles to accept his past growing up with his own mistakes and his former fake father’s mistakes. His dying sister begs him to return to their childhood home forcing him to come to terms with some of his issues. He learns to cope through a chance companionship with local author Lyn who teaches him hope and compassion in the face of frontier hardship.

Overall Rating


Point of View


Narrative Elements

Authors Writing Style: GOOD

Characterization: GOOD

Commerciality: GOOD

Franchise Potential: FAIR

Pace: GOOD

Premise: GOOD

Structure: GOOD


Accuracy of Book Profile

Mari Sandoz is listed as a main character, and although her themes and stories are influential to the characters, Steve’s actual sister would be more appropriate as she is the catalyst to his self-reflection and journey of acceptance through exploring Sandoz’s work.

Draw of Story

The pairing dynamic of Lyn and Steve is balanced, unique and feels authentic. Their bonding through the exploration of Mari Sandoz’s work and history is a fascinating way to show growth of their inner conflicts.

Possible Drawbacks

Steve’s indecision over moving back to help his sister, or at least his hesitancy to act, can slow down the pacing at times. Making sure each scene develops the protagonist or a side character or the main external conflict will maximize the momentum of the plot and help even out the scene pacing.

Use of Special Effects


Primary Hook of Story

The hook is that Steve hasn’t spoken to his sister in 20 years but she calls out of the blue because they are blood to be her hospice care and help her to live out her terminal cancer at their childhood ranch. This unearths a lot of unpacked trauma for Steve regarding his false father which he needs to deal with in order to handle the situation enough to care for his sister’s dying wishes and heal himself.

Fanbase Potential

This would do well with a large fanbase of older audience members who enjoy unique coming of age stories for elderly characters.

Awards Potential

Depending on the casting, due to the two main roles age, these two could garner attention for acting nominations due to the reputation of most actors by the time they meet that age range of the characters.

Envisioned Budget


Similar Films/TV Series


What’s New About the Story

The originality of the story stems from how the main characters attain growth through processing their past traumas via analyzing Mari Sandoz’s writing about the frontier and the life lessons her writing career taught Steve and Lyn regarding the flaws of their parents and their own survival.

Lead Characters

Steve is contemplative, simple and unattached. Lyn is fastidious, intelligent and calm.

Uniqueness of Story

This story could do well with an older prestige drama crowd due to its unique coming- of-age story exploring forgiving one’s self and one’s family’s past in one’s twilight years. The journey the senior citizens go on to make peace with their past is done well. Slightly making the pace a bit faster could sustain the emotional investment needed for the quieter moment of reflection and provide more apparent purpose to each included scene.

Possible Formats

Film: Studio, Indie, Streaming TV Series: Limited Run / Mini-Series

Analyst Recommendation



The dynamic between Steve and Lyn in regards to their internal conflict transformations through the exploration of another author’s work is creative and the themes are unique to their frontier upbringing and setting. The external conflict feels authentic and fresh but relatable that could be commercially viable for an affordable budget to an older audience.