Montana Authors Project

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"They put a proper name to it, all right, callin' it Colter's Hell." Hell might lie underneath, sure enough, in the great unseen hole that echoed to the horses' feet, in the fire that burned under all the land and sent water boiling out of the ground and jets of steam that hissed up and trailed off in clouds on either side of the elk trail they were following. A low stink hung over everything. (216)…

But all during the summer of 1934, shanty settlements have been springing up around the construction site with names like Wheeler, Delano, Park Grove, New Deal, Square Deal, and Cactus Flats. Sylva finds herself living on the edge of Park Grove, near New Deal. She substitute-teaches one day on a school swollen to sixty mismatched pupils. The rest of the time she learns how to live in a boomer settlement. The water from the Park Grove well looks cloudy, so she buys water in a barrel from a man who hauls it in a truck. No electricity, no plumbing. (151)…

Lower down, the river slid into the mixed waters of the Madison and Jefferson, making the Missouri sure enough. Here was the heart of Blackfoot land, the Three Forks, where many a hunter had died, where even big parties didn't like to go, knowing war parties would be after them thick and fierce as hornets; but there were no Indians about them now, only signs of them, only cold campfires and gnawed bones where villages had stood and old clumps of sod the squaws had dug to hold the lodge skins down. (235)…
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