Ervin Austin MacDonald's The Rainbow Chasers is a true, pioneering family saga of prospecting, cattle drives, prairie homesteading, traversing the Yellowhead Pass without a compass or a map, close calls, injuries, traplines and grinding ranch work in the Cariboo.
Born in 1893 in Colville, Washington and orphaned at age four, Ervin Austin MacDonald was raised in an orphanage until he could reunite with his father at age 13. His willful father Archibald (Archie) MacDonald had logged in the Ottawa Valley, prospected for gold and silver from Leadville, Colorado to Sonora, Mexico, driven cattle from Montana to B.C. and started a ranch near Fort Colville in Washington. Along with his two older brothers Dan and Angus, Ervin endured homesteading with his father near Edmonton until Archie MacDonald, permanently lame at 68 due to an encounter with a steer, decided they must all undertake a packhorse journey west into British Columbia via the hazardous Yellowhead Pass. With tremendous persistence, they built a ranch for themselves on Lac des Roches in the Bridge Lake region of the Cariboo. Ervin MacDonald never saw a settlement from ages 14 to 18. He married Ann Botterill, the first school teacher in the Bridge Lake area, in 1922, and moved to Trail, B.C. where he worked at the Cominco Smelter, mostly as a carpenter, until his retirement in 1951. He subsequently lived in Fruitvale, Robson, Castelgar, White Rock, Langley and Burnaby. He died in 1986.
Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
The Rainbow Chasers
The Rainbow Chasers (D&M, 1982; Touchwood, 2005).
[BCBW 2005] "Ranching"