BEYOND THE HIGH BLUE MOUNTAINS chronicles a boy’s triumph over adversity when Colin MacNeil sets out alone to reach the OregonTerritory in 1854. Brought to America by his widowed mother when her fellow Scots, believing infant Colin was cursed, drove them from their island home. Colin MacNeil began life in America on a Mississippi Riverboat. Orphaned at twelve when his abolitionist stepfather is murdered, he flees westward to escape a sheriff intent on placing him in the workhouse. Alone and vulnerable on a rural Missouri road, Colin endures a terrifying experience at the hands of a brutish teamster that scars and haunts him for life. Found near death, Colin is taken in by a family who soon consider him their son. Colin, fearing his curse causes everyone around him to die, wants no harm to befall the family. He hires on as a wagon driver for an affluent family bound for OregonTerritory. On the trail he is befriended by a canny wagon master and forms a brotherly bond with a crippled boy who, unknown to him, holds the key to Colin’s future. Colin endures great hardships while coping with the Oregon Trail’s dangers and a past that haunts him. Dangers like cholera. Or a sinister preacher whose intent towards him the now bitterly experienced young boy instinctively recognizes. During Colin’s perilous journey a band of Crow Indians recognize his courage by making him a blood brother and tribal member. Colin is caught between two worlds. Torn between joining his newfound Crow brethren. Or, honoring his word to the wealthy employers whose wagon he drives. Doing the honorable thing, Colin soon becomes aware that fellow immigrants, mistrusting his friendship with Indians, have suddenly become the trail’s most dangerous threat.
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