The patriarch of the Aberdeen clan, W. Houston Aberdeen had planned for his local empire of farms and ranches, which he had worked up from lands inherited from his grandfather Colonel Houston, to be distributed among his sons. “In the traditional Anglo-Saxon style,” as he was fond of saying. He and Mrs. Aberdeen then proceeded to have five daughters, much to Houston’s consternation. Rumor had it that he begat male bastards by the bushel, but after the fifth and final Aberdeen girl resulted in an emergency hysterectomy, Houston resolved to play the hand he was dealt and train up his girls to run his divided empire. Netty got the ranch, Shannon the farm, Kathy the grain elevator, Rowena the storefront, and Missy the farmhouse and garden plot. Within five years after old Houston’s death, though, everyone had gone bust (literally, in the case of the poor late Kathy) or sold out…except Netty and Shannon.

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