THE BIG SKY by A.S. Jr. Cuthrie
Kirkus Star


Email this review


One of the most exciting discoveries of many months -- a novel with a primitive virility -- a vitality- a closeness to the hearts and spirits of those men who contributed largely to the opening up of our frontiers -- an integrity and unity of conception and development which some other novels of this genre have lacked. Honey in the Horn affords, perhaps, the closest analogy; personally, I liked The Big Sky better. Its pace, its mood carried a conviction that the other book lacked for me. It may lose commercially by not being so sharply regional; the background here is focussed on an area of the Northwest where the mountain men, the expanding fur trade, blazed trails for the pioneers of the Oregon Trail. The story is built around young Boone Caudill, who at 16 runs away from the violence of his father's anger, taking with him his father's beloved Kentucky rifle, striking west across Kentucky and Indiana to Missouri. Trouble dogs his footsteps, but an acquaintance of the open road, Jim Doakins, saves him from complete disaster and joins forces with him on perilous adventure. One shares the sense of the vastness, the mystery of the new country, the perils of conflict with unfriendly Indians, ambitious and ruthless whites, jealous of invaders on territory they've staked out as their own. They join a unit of French rivermen on the Missouri. They stop off at McKenzie's Fort Union, challenging the determination of McKenzie's men that this area is theirs. They become mountain men, trappers, lone wolves, scouts- with Peabody of Boston. A thread of romance is woven through the story, as Boone Caudill holds steadfastly to the dream of the elusive Indian girl, Teal Eye- only at the end to bring tragedy upon them both through his suspicion and jealousy. Its a man's book, primarily, perhaps -- a violent book -- a lusty book, not for the tender skinned. It has sex in the raw, but all of a piece with the men and the times and the story. The publishers are backing it unreservedly and are giving it advertising and promotion nationwide. We apologize for being late reporting it (not our fault) -- but Don't Miss It!

Pub Date: April 30th, 1947
Publisher: William Sloane