The Men of the Last Frontier
THE JI EJf. OF THE -, . . - V, - - by T OWL NEW TORK CHARLES SCRIBNERS SONS PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN Grey OK. DEDICATED JS A TRIBUTE TO MY JUNT whom I must thank for such education that enables me to interpret into words the spirit of the forest, beautiful for all its underlying wildness PUBLISHERS NOTE THE PUBLISHER FEELS THAT A SHORT FOREWORD IS necessary in offering this book to the public. It should be explained that the author is a half breed Indian, whose name has recently become known throughout the English-speaking world. His father was a Scot, his mother an Apache Indian of New Mexico, and he was born somewhere near the Rio Grande forty odd years ago. Grey Owl is the translation of his Red Indian name, given to him when he became a blood brother of the Ojibways, and his proper legal style. He trekked, in his early twenties, into Canada and followed the life of a bush Indian, trapping, fire-ranging and guiding. During the Great War, he enlisted in the I3th Montreal Battalion, became a sniper and saw service in France. On his return he took up his old life as a trapper, but presently found his chief interest in the preservation of the beaver, which was on the verge of extinction, and his efforts in that direction have been recognized by the Canadian Govern ment. He tried his hand at writing an article on Canadian Wild Life, and his letters to his publisher, from time to time, were so original, so full of the local colour of his surround ings, that, in 1 929, the suggestion was made that he should write this book. Difficulties have been many, both for author and publisher. The book was written in many camps, often the author was a hundred miles from the nearest post office andfrequently weather conditions made any journey impossible. His MS., by no means always easy to follow, was further complicated by the fact that it had been typewritten by a French-Canadian who knew little English. Among the pile of letters and MS. which, in the course of time, accumulated at the publishers, were several rough but extraordinarily vivid sketches drawn by the author in vii PUBLISHERS NOTE pencil on pages torn from an exercise book one of these is reproduced here and others appear as the end papers of this book. At Grey Owls own request, and because the publisher felt very strongly that much of the value of his work lies in its individuality, the editing of his MS, has been reduced to a minimum and alterations have only been made to clear possible ambiguities or where a phrase would have read too strangely. This will explain to any reader who may find the authors language anywhere unnatural that the fault does not lie with Grey Owl. U, Hir r PROLOGUE CONTENTS PAGE CHAPTER I. THE VANGUARD ------ II. THE LAND OF SHADOWS 29 HI. THE TRAIL -----. 49 IV. THE STILL-HUNT ------83 V. ON BEING LOST - - - - - - 107 VL THE FALL OF THE LEAF - - - 129 VIL THE TALE OF THE BEATER PEOPLE - - 141 VIII. THE ALTAR OF MAMMON - - - 165 IX. THE HOUSE OF McGiNNis - - - 189 X. THE TRAIL OF Two SUNSETS - 205 EPILOGUE 251
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