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The Man Who Moiled for Gold draws its title from the Robert W. Service poem: "The Cremation of Sam McGee". This popular work portrays the lust for gold, the passion for the search, and the elusive success that brought men and women to remote areas without laws or justice. The poem also tells of suffering, loneliness, frustration, and ultimately death. Charley Martin experienced all of these emotions along with love and success while becoming the man who moiled for gold.
Charley Martin, in 1912, is found mining the hard rock of Butte, Montana. Years of breathing the fine quartz dust in the pits have given Charley silicosis. Discovery of this incurable condition, by the mine super, brought an abrupt change to the 69-year old miner's life. Change began with the decision to move to his mountain cabin, which involved a weekend stay with Kathleen, his eldest daughter. Kathleen held a secret hurt and bitterness, causing an estrangement between father and daughter.
Delighted by his teenaged grandson's insistence to know his grandfather's pioneer adventures Charley recounts events that began 50 years earlier with the Pike's Peak Gold Rush. Charley realizes that revealing family history might bring to surface Kathleen's resentments so he continues to tell details past the romantic parts.
Successful mining ventures are overshadowed by the murder of Charley's cousin Joe during a holdup. Kind and happy Charley becomes obsessed with finding the road agent who killed Joe. Other incidents of robbery and murder inflame the Montana/Idaho mining camps into vigilante actions. Charley joins the Bannack Vigilance Committee and participates in the historic hangings of the Sheriff and his deputies. He then travels with the Alder Gulch vigilantes to hang most of the remainder of the Sheriff's road agent gang, including the man Charley considers to be Joe's killer.
Charley had never before revealed to family that he had been an active vigilante who had ended mens' lives.
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- Gary Wilburn
Beautiful story, but....
This was an inspiring and beautiful story with great redemption.
If you can manage to hear or understand the narrator. His voice the entire story is in resonance against something very close so that many times distinguishing words are impossible. His deep voice only resonates and feeds back against something so it just a muffled vibration often. Certainly a very low quality audio production. As if the narrator (actually also the author) recorded the book with his head and microphone inside a small wooden book. The sound is muffled and many times he turns away from the mic while reading and is incomprehensible.
Many places in the book he loses his place and repeats a sentence before realizing his place and often mispronounces words in his own written book.
The story deserves a clear narrator with quality audio. Narrators Dick Hill or Scott Brick would have added a great value to this already great story.
- Dale Matsuda
A Historical Fiction Gem
I loved this book! It reminded me of News of the World. The author has the perfect voice for telling the old miner's story. The recording isn't perfect, but that added to the realism of the account. I would have given the book 5 stars, if not for a few editing issues. Charlie Martin is alive in my heart today. A well researched and historically accurate backdrop makes Charlie's story the story of hundreds of visionary and brave men who sought gold in the mountains of Colorado and Montana. The author brings the human side of Charlie to life through his relationships with his cousin, Joe, his beloved Claire, daughter Katie and the hard men who make mining a dangerous occupation. I cried, laughed and thought about the story long after I finished listening.