Dick Wootton, a Kentuckian, went West in 1836 just on a lark but stayed to make his name as Cut-Hand, the White-Man-Whose-Tongue-Is-Straight, trading with the Indians. (The epithet referred to his left hand, which was shy two fingers because of a childhood accident with an axe.) As a Kentuchkian he made a perfect mountain man for fur trading in the Rockies and for outwitting John Jacob Astor's giant American Fur Company. The staple fur was beaver. At first, to cut his teeth, he led another man's expedition, but the following season he organized his own, at twenty-one, and returned to find himself with the beginnings of wealth. He was also already a legend. His next became the longest trapping expedition in the history of the American frontier, exploring thousands of miles of wilderness. His men lost track of time and returned to discover they'd been gone two and a half years. Fighting the Indians became a constant preoccupation of his life, right through the Mexican and Civil Wars. As a'rebel sympathizer he fled Denver with his skin barely intact. His most successful scheme was to buy Raton Pass between Colorado and New Mexico and turn it into a toll road. This is an engaging biography although the writing smarts of men's magazines.