The Great Adventure: How the Mounties Conquered the West

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9780312155384: The Great Adventure: How the Mounties Conquered the West
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Describes the 1873 RCMP mission to the Canadian frontier

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From Kirkus Reviews:

A history of a little known 187374 expedition over a vast tract of Canadian wilderness by new police recruits, made to pacify Indians, monitor the long Canadian/US border, destroy the whiskey trade to the tribes, and bring law to Canada's wild west. Cruise and Griffiths (authors of several previous books, including The Money Rustlers, not reviewed) researched diaries, memoirs, newspaper accounts, and other period materials to recover the story of the motley collection of 150 men who made this forbidding 900-mile trek to frontier forts and trading posts in the unsettled Northwest Territory. They had been recruited with the promise of a good horse, extra rations, and an extraordinary opportunity for adventure. The rations, it turned out, were sporadic, and the horses only incompletely broken in, but they did get the adventure, in abundance. It was, Cruise and Griffiths remind us, from such ill-trained bands of adventurers that the renowned Royal Canadian Mounted Police evolved. The force, commanded by the inept British colonel George French, quickly found itself pushed to the limits of endurance by its leader's iron will, harsh discipline, and poor judgment. The men were plunged into a little-known and unforgiving land, peopled by militant tribes at constant warfare with one another. The recruits, during their long journey, endured intense heat, summer droughts, smallpox, grasshopper plagues, flying ants, vast prairie fires, and a subzero winter. The unforseen hardships resulted in desertions and mutinous incidents. After French bungled the mission, Major James MacLeod took command. A superb policeman and diplomat, he brokered the Blackfoot Treaty of 1877, which brought peace to the frontier, and wiped out the destructive whiskey trade, thus making possible both the growth of the territory and the emergence of the Canadian Pacific Railway. A well-told tale deftly combining adventure, outsize characters, and lively scenes of a wild land in the process of being explored and settled. (11 photos, 11 line drawings, not seen) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Booklist:

Cruise and Griffiths have written a vivid account of the epic campaign undertaken by the first members of the illustrious Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Responding to a government advertisement appealing to competent horsemen to enlist in a newly formed police force, a motley group of approximately 150 volunteers from diverse backgrounds assembled in Toronto in 1874. Initially called the North-West Mounted Police, this group was charged with the responsibility of marching 900 miles into unsettled territory in order to pacify the Indians, halt the whiskey trade, police the Canadian border, and bring the force of law and justice to bear in a heretofore lawless land. Subsequently dubbed the "Great March," this arduous trek across the hostile terrain of the vast Canadian wilderness was accomplished despite a lack of adequate supplies and equipment. A riveting historical chronicle based upon the diaries and the firsthand accounts of 13 men who participated in this seemingly impossible journey. Margaret Flanagan

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David Cruise; Alison Griffiths
Published by St Martins Pr (1997)
ISBN 10: 0312155387 ISBN 13: 9780312155384
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