In this story of a wagon train's trip west to California, the authors, who wrote Windigo (1963) and other juvenile and adult stories about the North American wilderness, have done well to feature the natural rigors of the trail rather than manufactured artificial incident. They are obviously familiar with the landscape and other natural properties of the far West, and provide very realistic expression to the group's reactions to a herd of buffalo and the paramount concern with finding the passage through the mountains. In this story these considerations are of much greater significance than the usually over-played encounter with the Indians. The characters lack the vigor and freshness of the setting, and include the teenage boy Eric Baldridge, who takes over as trail finder after the death of his father; his pompous, prosy Uncle Harlan, a lone-wolf scout who deserts the train, and lots of brave, persevering pioneer souls. The rugged West, in three-dimensional detail, is presented in a solid adventure story for boys.