THE LONG, LONG TRAIL by Virginia Weisel Johnson


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This chronicle of a third and fourth generation family making its way among the trails of the Northern Rockies is also a firm record of the transition this particular region has undergone as civilization encroached. The author and her family moved to high Montana territory as part of the great migration of the nineteen-thirties. It was still practically unsettled and the land and living rugged. There are humorous recollections of her zany mother writing love stories for confession magazines in i the hopes of earning some extra funds or impractically coping with the wilderness. There are some excellent portraits of some of the characters of the region who had not as yet faded into legend: Charlie Young, the trapper who spent many a winter in a lonely cabin half buried by blizzard snow; Charlie Ellis, the prototypical prospector; Ignace La Mousse, the Indian who used liquor to forget the fate of his people; Charlie Dunham, cowboy, drifter, one of the horsemen whose conversation was ""laconic, descriptive and tender and could be understood only by horsemen who live apart in a world that never was."" Mrs. Johnson also gives a vivid history of the region--lumbering, the war of the copper kings, the gold strikes etc. And of course there is the change...from the rodeo to the horse show, from exploration of the wilderness to exploitation. It's a solid narrative that offers young America a last look at a fading heritage.

Pub Date: June 2nd, 1966
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin