In 1848, Elbridge Trask, a trapper and mountain man who has married and settled in the Clatsop Plains of Oregon, begins to feel the call of the unknown. Trask is quiet, inarticulate, and has learned to trust his instincts. He is a restless man who had gone to sea in his youth. He seems to appreciate the order of civilization, whether it is the encroaching civilization of the western world or that of his nearest neighbors, the Clatsop Indians, but he’d rather live without its restrictions. Bridge, as he is called, is pulled from his home by an inner craving to settle on the edge of the ocean in Killamook Indian land where he meets their chief, Kilchis. It is Kilchis whom Trask must impress for permission to settle within the boundary of his land. The successful quest for his dream leads Trask through a series of challenges and losses. At the conclusion of the book, Trask has achieved his goal and is left in private celebration.
The late Don Berry wrote with charming eloquence. His style is clean and imbued with empathy for wanderlust. His descriptions are so vivid the reader can smell the evergreen, feel the rain, and see the fog. Trask is the first in a trilogy about the Oregon Territory. We should note that, although Elbridge Trask really existed, this is a fictionalized account.