David Weston Marshall’s Mountain Man: John Colter, The Lewis & Clark Expedition, and the Call of the American West (Countryman Press, $24.95) is an engaging account of John Colter’s life and times.
Although literate, Colter left no diary, nor maps of his explorations. Marshall’s book is not so much a biography, as a historical geography of what Colter might have encountered more than two hundred years ago as the very first white American to make contact with different western Indian groups, and the first to prospect a great many different rivers and streams for beaver.
The book retraces Colter’s steps throughout the Yellowstone and Grand Teton region, fleshing out an important chapter of our history mostly blank until now.
Marshall’s outstanding new study should be the very first book in the “Mountain Man” section of any library devoted to the American West.
—Brian Dervin Dillon, Ph.D., an archaeologist who has published on fieldwork throughout California, Guatemala, and three other countries for more than 40 years.