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In 1822 Elijah Mounts, barely eighteen, shoulders his rifle and walks from his uncle's Missouri farm to Saint Louis to seek his fortune in the fur trade. Frank B. Linderman's 1922 vel is a first-person account, based on a true story and his own trapping experience, of a young man's coming of age among the trappers and Indians in remote Montana, on the upper reaches of the wild Missouri River. Befriended by Wash Lamkin, Dad to all who kw him, Lige learns to live on the trail, trap the beaver, hunt the buffalo, speak the Cree language, and observe the customs of the country and its people. Enamored of the freedom, wildness, and beauty of the high plains and tied to the people at whose hands he has experienced kindness, welcome, and acceptance, he must ultimately decide whether he will return to civilization or choose the life of a plainsman.
Frank B. Linderman (1869-1938) was a Montana miner, trapper, newspaperman, politician, and chronicler of Indian life and culture. His many works include The Montana Stories of Frank B. Linderman, Indian Why Stories: Sparks from War Eagle's Lodge-Fire, and Indian Old-Man Stories: More Sparks from War Eagle's Lodge-Fire, all available in Bison Books editions. David J. Wishart, a professor of geography at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is the author of An Unspeakable Sadness: The Dispossession of the Nebraska Indians and the editor of The Encyclopedia of the Great Plains, both available from the University of Nebraska Press. Sarah Waller Hatfield is Linderman's granddaughter.