The Legend of Swell Branch

Book Cover


19th Century

JR Collins

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The Reconstruction of the South was a horrible time for those homesteaded in the Southern Appalachians. Greedy ex-soldiers and rogue profiteers head south looking to gain from the weak. Buach Whelan, an Irish lad, trained as a warrior by the Cherokee, rises up to fight the madness.


Adventure,Historical Fiction

Short Summary

Buach Whelan returns home alone from a long hunt with his Cherokee brothers. He finds his home and farm have been taken by outlaw ex-soldiers. His dad murdered. He goes in calmly to introduce himself. Evaluates the situation. He finds they also have his sister as a hostage. He knows to be cautious.

Buach seeks revenge for a friend that was murdered for profit. He finds out the murderer is visiting a certain tavern just off the North Trail. There he finds a way to get the killer. He also frees a young Cherokee maiden from the bondage of slavery while he fights to get his revenge.


Southern Appalachian Wilderness mid nineteenth century.

Based on a True Story


Plot - Premise

Internal Journey/Rebirth,Overcoming Monster/Villain,Rebellion Against 'The One',Tragedy

Plot - Other Elements

Coming of Age,Happy Ending,Meaningful Message,Philosophical Questions

Mature Audience Themes

Information not completed

Main Character Details

Name: Buach Whelan

Age: 19

Gender: Male

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Adventurous,Badass,Aggressive,Charming,Complex,Confident,Decisive,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Flexible,Gracious,Heroic,Honorable,Leader,Lone Wolf,Unapologetic,Strong Moral Code,Secretive,Romantic,Visionary,Funny,Skillful,Selfless,Blunt,Religious,Patriotic,Sexy,Obedient,Modest,Masculine

Additional Character Details

Name: Henri

Age: 25

Gender: Male

Role: Sidekick

Key Traits: Adventurous,Badass,Aggressive,Charming,Complex,Decisive,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Gracious,Flexible,Heroic,Honorable,Leader,Lone Wolf,Unapologetic,Strong Moral Code,Secretive,Romantic,Funny,Skillful,Selfless,Blunt,Obedient,Modest,Masculine

Additional Character Details

Name: Miriam Sky Watcher

Age: 18

Gender: Female

Role: emotional

Key Traits: Adventurous,Badass,Charming,Complex,Confident,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Flexible,Gracious,Heroic,Honorable,Leader,Lone Wolf,Unapologetic,Strong Moral Code,Secretive,Romantic,Funny,Skillful,Selfless,Religious,Sexy,Obedient,Modest

Additional Character Details

Name: Mary

Age: 21

Gender: Female

Role: sidekick

Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Charming,Complex,Confident,Decisive,Empathetic,Selfless,Religious,Sexy,Obedient,Modest,Engaging,Faithful,Gracious,Honorable,Unapologetic,Secretive,Romantic,Funny,Skillful,Outspoken

Development Pitch

The years following the Civil War were particularly unjust to those who called the South home. Many families had lost their men to the horrors of a war most didn’t understand. Many southern homesteads could not protect themselves from the horde of profiteers sweeping south at war’s end, good and bad alike, all hoping to reap the spoils of a defeated South. Some by legal means, sure, but many by any means it took. Buach Whelan (Boo-ock) (Whay-lan) is a big, strong lad of Irish descent. Raised by the Cherokee elders to become the white warrior, Lone Eagle. He is too young to fight in the legal war but was full grown when the post-war Reconstruction hit his part of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Being one who honors family, he is forced into the fight when his own home is taken by the invaders. A fight he vows to see to the end. Such becomes the way for Buach Whelan, such becomes a life lived by the Legend of Swell Branch.

About The Author

Rooted in ancestral heritage, JR Collins grew up in the Appalachian valley of Choestoe. Home of his ancestors and family since the late 18th century. An outdoors-man, trained by his father to respect home and the tradition of faith and family, watched as the invasion of progress took his sacred mountain existence. The stories of times forgotten sparked at a young age and he found himself with a need to pass on tradition, to some extent, to the next generation. Married and raising teenage twins, strengthened by a desire for his children to understand the efforts of family, that bought them the right to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

Target Audiences

Age: 13-17,18-34,35-54,55+

Target Gender: Universal

Group Specific

Information not completed

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: self-published

Publisher: JR Collins, Dancing Rabbits Publishing, LLC

Year Published: 2020

Hard Copy Available







Buach comes back to his homestead after the Civil War in the South to his father and sister. He must fight back against ex soldiers and opportunist who try to take land. He is aided from the local Cherokee Native Americans that he grew up with. Life changes as he loses and regains his home.

Overall Rating


Point of View


Narrative Elements

Authors Writing Style: GOOD

Characterization: GOOD

Commerciality: FAIR

Franchise Potential: GOOD

Pace: FAIR

Premise: GOOD

Structure: GOOD

Theme: GOOD

Accuracy of Book Profile

Yes, the book profile accurately reflects the book.

Draw of Story

The style the story is written mimics the low country accent. It enables the readers to immediately be immersed in the world. It is written in the first person, giving Buach's perspective throughout. His simple outlook on the world sets the tone for the story.

Possible Drawbacks

The book focuses on the white , Christian settlers in the South. Their relationship with the Cherokee was important to their survival. It would more interesting to explore this more and make that the primary focus. There are so few stories about the Native American population that had been pushed off their lands by the government. It is mentioned in the story but from Buach's perspective.

Use of Special Effects


Primary Hook of Story

The hook is that Buach fights against waves of disillusioned men trying to take spoils from the Civil War. They roam the southern states, taking from simple, hardworking people who have very little.

Fanbase Potential

This will not have a large fanbase. Western films have not had that much popularity lately. And with the need for more disenfranchised communities stories being told, this would represent an outdated story troupe.

Awards Potential

This does not have awards potential. The story is slow and the plot could be stronger. There is not much to distinguish from other dramatic Western films.

Envisioned Budget


Similar Films/TV Series


What’s New About the Story

The story has some original elements. There is a connection between Buach and the Cherokee. He speaks about the Spirit World and the Holy Spirit as if they are the same thing. The people did not clash with the Native Americans but meshed with them. The story would be more unique if the Native American perspective were more prominent. The white man perspective has been done many times before.

Lead Characters

The lead character stands out because he has a compassionate, caring personality. He is a misogynistic male character that is often seen in stories.

Uniqueness of Story

This a solid story. It could be improved by streamlining the plot and creating one antagonist in the story.

Possible Formats

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

Analyst Recommendation



While the story has many positive points, it has room for improvement (see possible paths below). If you can't change the story at this point, my suggestion is using your notes as a guide to highlight the best aspects of it when taking the next steps, either putting a pitch page together, a treatment, or a presentation.

Tips for Improvement

The story has a chance to shed light on the plight of the Native Americans at the time. It is mentioned they had just been pushed off their land by Andrew Jackson. This would be a great opportunity to explore the Native American perspective. This would give more depth to the story and place importance on all the groups affected by the end of the Civil War.