“… frontier history rugged and real.”
Popular books and movies have made the phrase “gold rush” all but synonymous with California and Alaska. But have you ever heard about the Canadian gold rushes at Fraser Canyon, Cariboo, or Rock Creek ?
In 1859, two U.S. soldiers crossed three miles into the then British colonial territory of British Columbia (now British Columbia, Canada) to escape Indians. During that short international border excursion, the soldiers found gold and set in motion a gold rush at Rock Creek.
MAYHEM AT ROCK CREEK by M. L. Poncelet drops the reader into life and times of Rock Creek’s colorful citizens where the ever-present struggles between the various personal interests of those with power and the needs of an instant made community often comes down to a less than ideal form of frontier justice.
Gold Fever Lure and Lore
Gold fever follows a predictable pattern. The lure of a new “find” becomes a siren’s call to adventurers, speculators, investors, businessmen and poor laborers — anyone hungry to acquire “quick” wealth and not afraid to get their hands dirty. The golden lore that quickly develops and feeds the fever is steeped in the rags-to-riches successes of the lucky few.
For me at least, the real story of any gold rush is the gritty back story of the daily life and interactions — the rags-to-rags and the rags-to-death existence of the unfortunate many — and this is what M. L. Poncelet brings wonderfully to life with gripping realism in MAYHEM AT ROCK CREEK.
Gold Rush Boom to Bust
Prospecting fever burns hot and fast, but rarely breaks the predictable cycle of boom and bust. Anyone who’s lived or traveled across western U.S. and Canada can attest to the numerous badges/scars of prospecting’s honor and defeat that still litter the rugged landscape — jumbled rocks marking the entrance to abandoned mines, tumbled down remains of towns far off the beaten path and weathered to a ghostly shadow of their former selves, and tourist traps attempting to cash in on the relics and history of the area’s lurid past.
Rock Creek proved it was no exception to the boom and bust rule. Within the span of a few short years the town of Rock Creek sprang into being, experienced the boom of a gold rush, a war between American and Chinese miners, political upheaval and, all too quickly, the inevitable bust as Rock Creek’s gold played out and other gold “finds” drew miners away.
Mayhem of Self-Interest and Frontier Justice
Individuals and families faced unimaginable risks and hardships to grasp at a golden opportunity for a better life. They showed unbelievable determination in overcoming the poverty, hunger, and untamed wilderness that besets them at every turn. But many times their biggest danger was the corrupting influence of those holding and seeking power, and the ineffective and self-interested actions of the agents for both government and law.
MAYHEM AT ROCK CREEK is a wonderful e-book collection of gold rush short-stories that is sure to stir the imagination of anyone who enjoys their frontier history rugged and real. And, just because this is a fascinating, fun, and fast read, don’t be surprised if it has you pondering the deeper meaning of life and history and what you would do if you were in those miners shoes.