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Synopsis

This first-hand account of a Canadian pioneer — the next title in TouchWood’s Classics West series — tells the story of a hard-won wilderness home and of the self-sufficient father and brothers who built it. Their tale of wanderlust begins in 1839 in Bytown, Ontario (later called Ottawa), with father Archie MacDonald, who reached his peak as an Ottawa Valley “bull of the woods” by age 29, prospected for silver and gold from Leadville, Colorado, to Sonora, Mexico, drove Montana cattle to the remote CPR camps in B.C. and carved out a ranch near Fort Colville, Washington. Ervin was motherless by age four, and he and his brothers and sisters were sent to an orphanage. He was reunited with his father when he was 13, and the MacDonalds homesteaded southeast of booming Edmonton. But the prairie disagreed with the mountain man in Archie, who dreamed of the Cariboo. Thus he and his teenage sons embarked on a pack journey across the Rockies via the Yellowhead Pass — without map or compass, and using makeshift rafts to cross rivers — in search of the special site that would become their home: Lac des Roches in the Bridge Lake area of the Cariboo.

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