Based on/inspired by the Robert Service poem "The Shooting of Dan McGrew," this a swashbuckling but uneven tale of a young man and his mother who stow away on a steamer bound for the Klondike at the height of the gold rush in the 1890s. Their improbable journey is punctuated by a motley cast of characters, some of which serve to advance the plot, and some of which are simple fluff. Enjoyable for its vivid depictions of the hardships of the Klondike and for its sympathetic young protagonist, it doesn't quite meet the high water mark set by Kroetsch in some of his other works.
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