Glory Days Gone Under

ABOUT Edward Louis Henry

Edward Louis Henry
Edward Louis Henry  (a.k.a. Poredevil)has been a working cowhand, saddle bronc rodeo contestant and Wild West performer, WWII infantry sergeant, newspaper reporter, U.S. Foreign Service officer and executive speechwriter, plus has spent thirty years in advertising. A lifelong horseman and More...


The fourth and final volume of the historical fiction book Temple Buck Quartet describes the final years of the American Rocky Mountain fur trade through the eyes and in the words of Temple Buck and his trapper comrades as they continue their determined quest of beaver through the uncharted wilderness of the Rockies through forbidding western deserts to the Pacific Ocean in Spanish California and back again, harvesting on the way not only beaver pelts but a host of fresh adventures, new friendships, romance, and, at last, an unwelcome education in conservation, marketing, and gentlemen’s fashion. Temple tells this true-to-life tale with homespun humor, matter-of-fact acceptance of high times and hardship, and the mountaineer’s abiding confidence that tomorrow will be better if you make it so.

“Many of us have studied the history of the Rocky Mountain Fur trade and are familiar with the actors and the scenes of their exploits. In most cases I suspect we know the facts more than we feel their impact on the people and on the expanding nation. Glory Days Gone Under by “Poredevil” Edward Louis Henry successfully recreates the trappers’ universe, draws us in, and brings us close as possible to the real experience. This monumental book is the fourth and the last one in the author’s depiction of the American Fur trade through the personal experiences of likable protagonist Temple Buck. (The previous volumes in this series were reviewed earlier in Muzzle Blasts.)

The author knows his history and all the seasonings that keep our appetite keen for more. Recorded historical facts that figure in this book include the rabid wolf that fatally attacked rendezvous participants, meteor showers, earthquakes, beached whales, white women at rendezvous, the passage of zealous missionaries, and surgery to remove an imbedded arrow from Jim Bridger’s back. A rather lengthy section presents life, customs, and narrow escapes in Spanish-controlled California. There is also ample information on native cultures - e.g., signs of respect for a deceased husband, courting customs, independence (rather than teamwork) in battle, the price of a bride, and the number of poles used in setting up a lodge. This novel has the ring of authenticity; it clearly is the product of an author who has seen the elephant.

This nearly 700-page novel takes you there; the author’s encyclopedic knowledge of horses, guns, curative herbs, classical literature, geography, history, and native values - to name just a few - makes for a fine, long read. This is not a novel that makes you want to race to the end; far better, it invites you linger and savor the atmosphere and the adventure, and believe it all.

In this novel we meet the historical figures of Bill and Milton Sublette, William Drummond Stewart, Henry Fraeb, Osborne Russell, Kit Carson, Black Harris, Tom Fitzpatrick, Lucien Fontenelle, Alfred Jacob Miller, Joe Meek, and many others. These characters and their fictional colleagues are drawn convincingly, and they speak in very distinctive voices. We get to know their personalities, emotions, and motivations.

You can read this novel by itself, but once you do you will want to read all the others as well. All of them depict phases in Temple Buck’s initiation and growth in the fur trade. The plot is filled with adventure —buffalo hunts, battles, horse raids, and the like - and you won’t find a dull moment. Do you appreciate humor, drama, horsemanship, mountain cuisine, history, and old-time skills? Then get a copy of this novel and settle in for a few weeks of enjoyable winter reading. This is an immense book in size and content, and it will easily merit reading more than once.”

Eric Bye, Muzzle Blasts Magazine