In the winter of 1910, a Royal North-West Mounted Police patrol led by Inspector Francis J. Fitzgerald perished in the Yukon Territory. Driving dog sled teams on a trek of some 475 miles, their four man patrol fell victim to the harsh, bitterly cold conditions of Canada’s north. It is difficult to imagine surviving outdoors in temperatures that routinely fell to minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and dipped as low as the minus 60’s. In such an environment, man and beast constantly lived on the edge of disaster, yet the hardy individuals this lifestyle seemed to attract flourished in the adversity.
Although the material itself can be a bit dry, out of necessity Dick North painstakingly sets the scene for the doomed patrol. Then, using Fitzgerald’s diary and the notes of the recovery party, he pieces together the details of the ill-fated expedition.