In This Classic Of Western Americana, George Frederick Ruxton, Who Died In St Louis In At The Youthful Age Of Twenty Seven, Brilliantly Brings To Life The Whole Heroic Age Of The Mountain Men The Author, From His Intimate Acquaintance With The Trappers And Traders Of The American Far West, Vividly Recounts The Story Of Two Of The Most Adventurous Of These Hardy Pioneers Killbuck And La Bont , Whose Daring, Bravery, And Hair Breadth Escapes From Their Numerous Indian And Spaniard Enemies Were Legend Among Their Fellow FrontiersmenWith Ruxton, We Follow Killbuck And La Bont And Their Mountain Companions Old Bill Williams, Black Harris, William Sublette, Joseph Walker, And Others Across The Prairies And Forests, West From Picturesque Old Bent S Fort, Into The Dangerous Arapaho Country Near The Headwaters Of The Platte We Share With Them The Culinary Delights Of Their Campfires Buffalo Boudins And Beaver Tails And Hear From Their Own Lips, In The Incomparable Mountaineer Dialect, Hair Raising Stories Of Frontier Life And Humorous Tales Of Trading Camp And Frontier PostLife In The Far West, Then, Is Adventure Extraordinary The True Chronicle Of The Rugged Mountain Men Whose Unflinching Courage And Total Disregard For Personal Safety Or Comfort Opened The Far West To The Flood Of Settlers Who Were To Follow The Breath Taking Water Colors And Sketches, Which Depict With Great Detail Many Of The Familiar Scenes Of The Early West, Were Done By One Of Ruxton S Contemporaries And Fellow Explorers, Alfred Jacob Miller Fur trappers were the superheroes of their time Considered to be intrepid the reader s overriding cause in following closely the narrative Here, the beginnings of the All American Hero And, I mean, how cool is it that the trapper dressed in what is perh Fur trappers were the superheroes of their time Considered to be intrepid incredibly agile, they were the prototypical supermen who knew what was required to survive the fierce frontier George Ruxton s Life in the Far West introduces Killbuck, main trapper extraordinaire, as a man worthy of literary entitlement the reader s overriding cause in following closely the narrative Here, the beginnings of the All American Hero And, I mean, how cool is it that the trapper dressed in what is perhaps the only original American costume the fringed buckskin suit Take that Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren But really the story here is of La Bonte, a trapper whose maturity is gauged precisely as he survives Indian raids, scalps the enemy, takes on two wives as by mountain law allowed , and coolly smokes his pipe instead of stressing out when his property is taken from him, at one fell swoop According to Ruxton, trappers possess a great advantage over the vacillating Indian, whose superstitious mind in a great degree paralyzes the physical energy of his active body and in waiting for propitious signs and seasons before he undertakes an enterprise, he loses the opportunity which his white andcivilized enemy knows so well to profit by Again, tainted ever so with racist commentary, Ruxton, like Lippard, uses the fantastic fountainhead that is the Far West in the 1850s for a perpetual playground, where the Pawnees know, to their cost, that a mountaineer seldom pulls his trigger without sending a bullet to the mark The first chapter is fantastic, rife with excitement and adventure campfire talk interrupted by hideous weather followed by an attack of Injuns, catapulting a daring rescue of the losses, death to the enemy, and a gracious visit to the Yutas Utes In Life in the Far West, again, under the demoralizing influence of the liquor Indians become savages This, alcohol abuse, seems to be a trend with most of our readings And then there are scenes of apocalypse to contrast ever so perfectly with the deeds of the super mountaineers a game of cards played for scalps, cannibalization his horror to see the yet quivering body of one of the Indian squaws, with a large portion of flesh butchered from it, and part of which Forey was already greedily devouring and the cruel half assed killing of Indians The savage, who received wounds sufficiently for twenty deaths, suddenly rose to a sitting posture, the fire shedding a glowing light upon the horrid spectacle The face was a mass of clotted blood, which flowed from the lacerated and naked scalp, whilst gouts of blood streamed from eight gaping wounds in the naked breast Then there strivia to be acquired, for it isn t true that it is dog s meat which isflavorful Wah to Yah , but, rather, that of mountain lion Also, horse blood can create eyes bloodshot, and a giddy sickness, Meat s meat , buffalo are tricky shots These trappers are Viking like They get in fights and survive, or die They trap and trade, and talk of trading Superhero status is achieved, while the enemy is often butchered, and the reader is intrigued in the vivid travelogue of the frontier.Perhaps it is this which encapsulates Ruxton s narrative, serving as a metaphor for the wild American frontier A cayeute, attracted by the scent of blood, drew near, unwitting of the canine feast in progress, and was likewise soon made dog of, and thrust into the boiling kettle with the rest Published in 1849 as one man s account of his life in the American Wilderness My problem with the work is that it s too real for my taste at this time Probably an astute depiction of how life was lived If on your reading list,be aware the realities of what we now deem offensive in the 21st Century are a big part of our human history It s there It cannot be erased We learn from it. The best book I have read about the life of the mountain men A true story, and reads like a well written novel. Best book I have read about the mountain men and their lives A true story, it reads like a novel. I cannot recall how I stumbled across this little gemthe details he recounts and the things he witnessed are extraordinary beyond belief To absorb all of this from a pre Revisionist point of view actually leaves one quite astonished at how sanitized our own version of American history continues to be IN SPITE of much effort to reveal it as it actually was experienced.Also, many of these sketches are simply charming, and even funny.An eye opening perspective paragraph These, nevertheless I cannot recall how I stumbled across this little gemthe details he recounts and the things he witnessed are extraordinary beyond belief To absorb all of this from a pre Revisionist point of view actually leaves one quite astonished at how sanitized our own version of American history continues to be IN SPITE of much effort to reveal it as it actually was experienced.Also, many of these sketches are simply charming, and even funny.An eye opening perspective paragraph These, nevertheless, were the men whose hardy enterprise opened to commerce and the plough the vast and fertile regions of the West Rough and savage though they were, they were the true pioneers of that extraordinary tide of civilisation which has poured its resistless current through tracts large enough for kings to govern, over a country now teeming with cultivation, where, a few short years ago, countless herds of buffalo roamed unmolested, where the bear and deer abounded, and the savage Indian skulked through the woods and prairies, lord of the unappreciated soil that now yields its prolific treasures to the spade and plough of civilised man To the wild and half savage trapper, who may be said to exemplify the energy, enterprise, and hardihood characteristic of the American people, divested of all the false and vicious glare with which a high state of civilisation, too rapidly attained, has obscured their real and genuine character, in which the above traits are eminently prominent to these men alone is due the empire of the West, destined in a few short years to become the most important of those confederate States composing the mighty union of North America.Ruxton, George Life in the Far West pp 45 46 Edinburgh Blackwood Kindle Edition An Englishman s tale of the Mountaineers adventures.An astounding account of the lives of the men who lived and traveled in the mountains of the West Fur trappers all, they suffered incredible privations while following their trade George Frederick Ruston was a young man who joined them and chronicled their deeds in the mid 1800 s He was from an upper class English family and well traveled on the continent, and elsewhere, before making his way West He too loved the mountaineers way of life An Englishman s tale of the Mountaineers adventures.An astounding account of the lives of the men who lived and traveled in the mountains of the West Fur trappers all, they suffered incredible privations while following their trade George Frederick Ruston was a young man who joined them and chronicled their deeds in the mid 1800 s He was from an upper class English family and well traveled on the continent, and elsewhere, before making his way West He too loved the mountaineers way of life and had a wonderful gift of making himself at home in whatever circumstances he found himself On National Geographic s list of 100 Greatest Adventure Books Interesting history. If you like the era of the opening of the west and Indian skirmishing and authentic seeming renditions of trappers and mountain men then this book will fit the bill nicely.
- 266 pages
- Life in the Far West
- George Frederick Augustus Ruxton
- 26 October 2018 George Frederick Augustus Ruxton