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 dark, evil-smelling interior was lit only by the smouldering embers of a small wood-fire in the centre of the great circle. Though it was summer these red heritors of the land could not do without their fire at night-time, any more than they could do without their skins and frowsy blankets. Nevil Steyne glanced swiftly over the dimly outlined faces he saw looming in the shadows. The scene was a familiar one to him, and each face he beheld was familiar. The puffy, broad face of the great chief, the fierce, aquiline features of the stripling who was sitting beside him, and who was Big Wolf’s fifteen-year-old son, and the dusky, delicate, high-caste features of the old man’s lovely daughter, Wanaha.
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