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Synopsis

“Either the whisky goes or I go.” These words were uttered by the author’s great grandmother after a harrowing trip by riverboat and stagecoach to her new husband’s ranch on the raw frontier of British Columbia’s Cariboo country. This is a memoir about her great grandson’s adventures and the hazards of herding cattle over unfamiliar territory into the huge alpine back-country of Empire Valley—BC’s third largest ranch. Mack Bryson’s entertaining stories of life as a cowboy and rancher provide a vivid portrait of the Canadian West as he moved from using horse-drawn equipment, to diesel tractors, to airplanes to get the challenging job done. A Cowboy’s Life recounts one man’s journey across a rapidly vanishing landscape. From crossing roaring rivers with cattle and horses, to getting bucked off into the rocks and knocked unconscious two weeks before his wedding, to forest fires burning up camping supplies, to fights with poachers who want him out of their way so they can hunt on private land, Mack tells the colourful story of his family, their beloved dogs and horses, and the ranching life. This is an amazing story, told with humour and grace, about a young man’s adventures that saw him achieve success in an industry where one misstep could ruin him and his family.

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