..... are, to say the least, precarious for he and his father, Dr. Sardius McPheeters, tell the story in turns, each, generally, leaving the other up a creek. Fleeing Louisville because of debts, Doc takes Jaimie with him, manages to lose him quite promptly and continues his effervescent way to Independence. Jaimie rescues a girl, Jennie, wins enemies, is rescued himself and, with his father again, heads westward for gold. Their party is guided by Coulter, meets Indian savagery and attack, hardships, death and romance (for Jennie); Jaimie is captured by Indians, freed by Coulter, and becomes the friend of a Pawnee chief who saves them from another band of redskins. A winter with the Mormons in Salt Lake City brings trouble for Jennie, now a widow, and Doc through the vengeance of the Danites but they are aided on their way to California. There the gold -- which they finally find -- is the means of their losing their fortune, of the death of Jaimie's enemies, and the near-downfall of his father when, in San Francisco, he is almost lost to alcohol. But the friendship and help of their English traveling companion gives Doc another chance and repays the kindness of their other friends. A story that bulges -- with history, incident, people and places -- has a good humored quality in its father and son recital, in its contrast of personalities, in its matter of fact, boyish and adult, telling. All the horrors of the trail west, of the Cold Rush push, of Indian -- and white -- behavior go hand in hand with the decency and humanity the McPheeters engender and encounter. For a personal enthusiasm sale.