A Legend Comes To Life The central character in this historical novel is a well educated Indian renegade who also has the blood of both black and white in his veins. His notable size, 6’8-1/2” tall, general countenance and certain exploits form the orienting track of this story gleaned from books on Idaho history and newspaper accounts of more than 120 years ago. Apparently he did exist. But legend has colored his life almost to Paul Bunyan extremes. This account has been written to tint the character in more believable terms. Starr Wilkinson was born in 1837 near Tahlequah, out in the India Territory (Oklahoma). He was very quiet, even introverted. So the thread that is woven through this story of his life is one of trouble stemming from an inability to communicate well with others. Starr served on the crew of a Mississippi riverboat for several years. He then accompanied a family on the road to Oregon and, as time passed, fell in love with the daughter. This led to the slaying of a young rival by Wilkinson. He then deserted the wagon train and of necessity joined a renegade Indian band that wandered the Snake River country. Before long he became the leader and, largely because of his size, was notorious throughout the area. Here, he again took on his schooldays name of Bigfoot. After years of eluding pursuers and avoiding traps, he was killed via ambush in July, 1868. This story of his life is in accord with his own lengthy statement made as he lay dying on a dry, sage covered hillside near the Snake River. An eyewitness account of that event and Bigfoot’s last words was published several years later in the Tri-Weekly Statesman, the Boise City newspaper in those days. Legend. . .fable. . . myth. . . fact. . . or history liberally embellished? Take your choice.
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