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Dancing with the Golden Bear
Synopses & Reviews
When the enigmatic Jedediah Smith, greatest of the mountain men, puts together a brigade of trappers for an expedition into the unknown territory of Mexican California , Sam Morgan joyfully joins up. With his Crow Indian wife Meadowlark and his coyote pup at his side, Sam sees the expedition as a chance for adventure — and wealth.
Captain Smith leads the group south in search of the the Buenaventura, a great river believed to connect the Great Salt Lake to California, but when the river proves to be a myth, the trek toward the Pacific becomes a nightmare.
Like ghosts they struggle into the San Gabriel Mission in southern California and there recuperate, but the Mexican government eyes them with suspicion and Sam and his companions are forced to flee back into the Mojave.
When Meadowlark falls ill, Sam learns the poignant meaning of the words of his mentor, Hannibal McKye:
"Life is like a golden bear. It's magnificent, it's beautiful, and it bites."
Young Sam Morgan, the Pennsylvania runaway and now a seasoned Rocky Mountain trapper, joins a brigade led by Jedediah Smith, greatest mountain man of them all, heading west for the Mexican province of Alta California.
With Sam on this dangerous mission into unexplored territory are his beloved Crow wife Meadowlark and a polyglot host of multi-national fur hunters, Ute and Shoshone Indians. The journey south to the Colorado River and across the Mojave Desert is harrowing: game rare or nonexistent, water a rarity, strange bands of naked Indians, the hammering sun, all in a godforsaken land of sand and scrub.
Sam Morgan's life changed unalterably when the pregnant Meadowlark falls ill as the brigade makes its way through Mojave country. In an emergency push west he is able to bring her safely into the California coastal town of Monterey but there faces the greatest crisis of his life - the death of the only woman he has ever loved.
About the Author
Win Blevins, an authority on the Plains Indians and fur-trade era of the West, is author of Give Your Heart to the Hawks, Stone Song, his prize-winning novel of Crazy Horse and many others including his Rendevous series that began with So Wild a Dream.
He lives in Utah with his wife Meredith, also a novelist.
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