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September 29 , 2010

High Country

A Novel


The packer’s business is guiding mule trains into mountains where wagons can’t travel. It’s a life of danger, long days, and low pay. But for those wedded to the wilderness and inaccessible high country, it is the only life there is.

During the Great Depression, young Ty Hardin is sent from his family’s failing Montana ranch to learn from the last of the great packers, Fenton Pardee, legendary in the Montana Rockies for his packing adventures across the Swan Range all the way to the Big Divide. High Country follows Ty through this apprenticeship and into World War II, where he watches trucks and jeeps replace the army’s mules. Wounded and shipped home, Ty recovers by packing into the Montana mountains he loves. After his mentor dies, Ty leaves Montana for the Sierra Nevada—the highest country of all—where he becomes a legend in his own right.

Writing in the tradition of Norman Maclean’s A River Runs through It, Willard Wyman shares techniques of breaking and packing and leading animals into forbidding country, hunting and tracking, and making camp. Wyman brings you so close to the packer’s life you smell the leather, sweat, and oil.

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