Ridgwell Cullum, (1867-1943,4was a British adventurer who left England at age seventeen to go gold-prospecting in the Transvaal. He then removed to the Cape of Good Hope, where he joined up with a league of freebooters fighting against the Boers. Unable to keep still, he crossed the seas and settled in the Yukon region of Canada. During his stay in that area, he narrowly escaped starving to death. He next crossed the Canadian border, and became a successful cattle-rancher in Montana. It is said that during this period he took part in Sioux uprisings on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations. In 1903, Cullum published his first novel, The Devil's Keg. After its immediate success, Cullum decided to become a full-time writer. Dozens of novels followed throughout a career of nearly forty years. His principal early works include, Hound from the North (1904), The Night Riders (1906), and The Compact (1909). In 1931, these, along with The Purchase Price (1917), were published in an omnibus edition of his works. Despite Zane Grey's success in England, Cullum continued to hold his own in sales and popularity. His characters are larger-than-life, his descriptions vivid, and his plot mechanisms fool-proof.
The load on the sled was nearing completion. The tough-looking, keen-eyed man bestowed his chattels with a care and skill which told of long experience, and a profound knowledge of the country through which he had to travel. Silently he passed back and forth between the sled and the weather-battered shelter which had been his home for more than three years. His moccasined feet gave out no sound; his voice was silent under the purpose which occupied all his thought. He was leaving the desert heart of the Yukon to face the perils of the winter trail. He was about to embark for the storm-riven shores of the Alaskan coast.
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