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The Danger Trail
a novel by: James Oliver Curwood

danger trail






James Oliver Curwood

James Oliver Curwood

"M'seur. I have come to you with a warning. Do not go to the big railroad campl on the Wekusko. Return into the South."
Jack Howland, a young engineer from Chicago, is assigned the task of overseeing the completion of the Hudson Bay Railway from The Pas to Churchill, Manitoba. and is replacing two engineers who are leaving under mysterious circumstances. Howland does not heed the warnings to leave and insists on staying, finding both romance and danger in the camp.

The Danger Trail written in 1910, takes place at Wekusko, a stop on the Hudson Bay Railway line.  The book is a work of fiction and describes an adventure at the work camp at Wekusko. It is now in public domain and can be downloaded for free from the Project Gutenberg site.

The survey for the Hudson Bay Railway was started in 1908, construction began in 1910 and it was completed in 1929.  Once the railway was built as far as Wekusko, early prospectors and travelers to the Herb Lake gold fields took the train, then traveled by horse drawn carts on a trail to “The Portage” (now Herb Lake Landing), then by boat to Herb Lake.

At the time James Oliver Curwood wrote this novel, the Herb Lake gold fields were attracting prospectors and adventurers.  Many people wanted to live the adventure, even if they could not actually come to Northern Manitoba.  Curwood’s novel satisfied a need for people to experience life in the wilderness through his characters.

Information from Wikepedia:
James Oliver "Jim" Curwood (June 12, 1878 – August 13, 1927) was an American action-adventure writer and conservationist. His books ranked among Publisher's Weekly top-ten best sellers in the United States in the early 1920s. At least eighteen motion pictures have been based on or directly inspired by his novels and short stories. At the time of his death, he was the highest paid (per word) author in the world.

Curwood was born in Owosso, Michigan, the youngest of four children. He left high school before graduation, but passed the entrance exam to the University of Michiganwhere he enrolled in the English department and studied journalism. After two years, he quit college to become a reporter. In 1900, Curwood sold his first story while working for the Detroit News-Tribune. By 1909 he had saved enough money to travel to the Canadian northwest, a trip that provided the inspiration for his wilderness adventure stories. The success of his novels afforded him the opportunity to return to the Yukon and Alaska for several months each year that allowed him to write more than thirty such books.

Literary and film legacy
Curwood set many of his works in the wilds of the Great Northwest and often used animals as lead characters (Kazan, "Baree; Son of Kazan, The Grizzly King and Nomads of the North). Many of Curwood's adventure novels also feature romance as primary or secondary plot consideration. This approach gave his work broad commercial appeal and helped drive his appearance on several best-seller lists in the early 1920s. His most successful work was his 1920 novel, The River's End. The book sold more than 100,000 copies and was the fourth best-selling title of the year in the United States, according to Publisher's Weekly.  

He contributed to various literary and popular magazines throughout his career. Curwood's bibliography includes more than 200 such articles, short stories and serializations. His work was also published in Canada and the United Kingdom. Some of his books were translated into French, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Polish and published in those respective countries. At least eighteen movies have been based on or inspired by Curwood's novels and short stories. John Wayne starred in the 1934 production of The Trail Beyond, based on Curwood's novel, The Wolf Hunters.

Comments on The Danger Trail:  I did not feel that this book added to my knowledge of Wekusko or Herb Lake and in my opinion, it lacked a sense of local history. I have no idea if Curwood ever visited Wekusko. Different subjects appeal to different readers, and when I read it, I was looking for information about the building of the railway, and I felt disappointed, however, other readers may feel differently.

The gutenberg.org site makes books available for free that have an expired copyright. It is available for download and can be read on your computer or on a book reader. The re-printed
The book has been reprinted and is also available for sale on Amazon.


This link is to Amazon.com. If you are in Canada, you may want to check Amazon.ca

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