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WEST OF THE RIVER by Charlton Laird



Publisher: Little, Brown-A.M.P.

A continuation of Thunder On The River (1949) this notes the death knell of the scramble for furs and brings Mark Eldridge and his family into the picture of the Half-breed Steal. Paul Boudreau, a young French Canadian, and his jackknife post are wiped out by Astor's American Fur Company and , unable to recoup, he takes odd jobs around Foxtown (Prairie du Chien) but is followed by the Indians' distrust for not having given them the horses he owed them. Many promise to help him get horses, among them Dolly, Eldridge's half-breed daughter, Celeste, discontented wife of the traitorous trader Jaloux, Lt. Wilson, of the U. S. Army, But his inability to pay his debt hinders the dealings with the Indians over the land deals and settlements, in which Paul has been driven to help steal, rob and cheat. The threat of smallpox, of a rising and massacre by the resentful Indians, the attack that despoils the pest boat and Dolly's loyalty and faith bolster Paul's decision to reveal the chicanery of the traders and the American Fur Company and, winning Eldridge's respect and trust, he is given a new chance for the future. Based on history, the far flung traffic of the fur trade, the trickery of big business, the incidents of the trading posts and the lives of the trappers frame the picture of a renegade saved from himself and are blended into a satisfying account of the period.