First of all, the book was full of typos. And I don't mean missing periods, although there were those as well. Seriously misspelled words, missing words, etc. it was also kind of a throw back to cowboys and indians in that the Indian cultures were fractionally represented, understood or even appreciated compared to the "great white mountain men", the heroes of the story. So even if you are interested in the story of the mountain men, it is an incomplete and unsatisfying story that shows you a small and distorted piece of the colorful and complex brocade this time period represents.
A straightforward, factual look at one of the Western rivers of the U.S. The Arkansas River was a personal marvel in the Southwest mountains and plains where I was born. The book on this area is beyond "interesting" and grabs the reader, introducing individual lives of men and women bound to establish homes and money-earning opportunities out of nature's bounty. Never, does the story render the territory as as an early resort. People and animals share daily existence with beauty, peace and daily bouts of dangerous weather and courage fighting to grasp the ability to survive. In time...men built travel and communication capabilities, with railroads and wire . Here, one found at least six or seven different tribes of American Indians bringing both friends and violent enemies unexpectedly. Gradually, peaceful existence won over all concerned. Beautiful small Colorado towns and cities still exist within sight and sound of the Arkansas River and its majesty.
It may be because I spent my youth in the Arkansas River Basin that I enjoyed this book. By the way, we pronounce the river name as R-Can-Saw. I have floated this river, fished it from its beginning to the point it is joined by the Walnut River, dealt with its quicksand, cooked shore lunches, and faced it when it went on a wild flood.
By the way, one of the characters father-in-law had the last name of Chouteau and I have a relative active in the history of the Arkansas and Walnut river basins who was also named Chouteau; I wonder???
However this story is not about me but about the early settlers that settled, I will not judge whether that was good or bad, the wilderness on the upper Arkansas River. The characters and their actions are well presented. The style of the author leads to an easy to read about that time and place in our history of the west.
I recommend the book to those that like action with a hint of a history lesson. However there is on disappointing thing about the book; It covers only the head waters and it leaves out a lot of interesting history of the rest of the River Basin
Reading the stories of the men and women who fought and won the wild west,it is easy to forget that we are talking about people who are sometimes as young as 15 - 16 or even younger.They grew up quickly and most lived hard and many times short lives. Our forefathers! Maybe we cheat our own children by doing to much for them ...Giving them more than we had..What? stereos, 52 "TV's and IPhones. My kids want $10 - 15 to mow our lawns. Work to put food on the table ? Hah..no wonder they grow up with outlandish expectations or none. Maybe what they need to learn is life is a struggle and most people don't have everything given to them. We want our kids to be older before we turn them out into the world and many are unprepared.We should make SURE that our kids's know what it took to grow old in the old west and that old was often only 40 -45. Treasure these hard earned lives of freedom we have inherited.
This is an accurate portrayal of how men trap and hunt in the wilderness. I enjoyed reading about how difficult it was to survive on the frontier. The challenges faced by the early frontier settlers was eye-opening. There is a lot of romance, which I was not expecting. Amazingly, the men and women worked together for survival and together they made a better life for their families. I am hooked on this series. Jory Sherman takes the time to develop the characters in this novel. It is very easy reading and quite enjoyable. It vividly portrays the strengths and weaknesses of human beings and exposes the moral character of key characters. Some you will like, others you will despise. But that is life.
Generally well written frontier adventure with lots of action. The sudden time jumps are a little unsettling with some of them leaving the reader wondering how the story got from there to here. Certainly portrays the pioneers who settled the eastern slope of the Rockies as tough folks, but at times a little unbelievably tough, with an interesting portrayal of the lead character. Since I've lived near and been familiar with this region most of my life, I can attest to its general historical and geographical accuracy, although the portrayal of the region's Indians seems a little one-sided. Overall a good read and I plan to read more of the series.
This story about the west and the men and women who built it has no holds barred, as it describes tragedies and triumphs without glossing over the details. It is a powerful story with an incredible writing style depicting men, women, Indians and terrain. The only thing lacking is a more comprehensive depiction of the indians and what they were going thru as they tried to stop the settlement of land that was being taken from them rather than showing them as complete savages without feelings.