The life of an often misunderstood man- James MacLaughlin who was chief factor for the Hudson's Bay Company in the northwest during the first decades of the 19th century- is told with close attention to detail and is intended to vindicate him of trouble in Oregon. Vital, studious, temperate and kindly, James MacLaughlin started out as a doctor in eastern Canada. But medicine was in conflict with his wish to pioneer and see the fur trade grow. With his energy and his connections it was not long before he was in a position to wield policy himself- much of it bitterly controversial. When he became chief factor at Ft. Vancouver a peaceful decade followed, but aid to Americans brought criticism from his own government. Later a double tragedy came when he resigned to live in Oregon and the Americans he had helped turned against him as a feudal overlord. Withal sensitive, but one wonders if the feudalism had a deeper meaning in the tragedy than is here stated. One of the things he helped effect was the amalgamation of the Northwest Company with Hudson's Bay.