Foreword and Chapter 1:
The book begins with a look at the North American preoccupation with gold throughout the latter half of the 19th Century, a preoccupation which was clearly evident across the Island as well. Island newspapers frequently carried stories of gold “strikes” and pirate “treasure” in numerous communities during the quarter century preceding the Klondike strike in 1896. When the Klondike strike finally materialized on Bonanza Creek, Yukon in the summer of 1896 gold-seekers everywhere were ready to set out on the great adventure. Money was scarce on the Island in the 1890s due to a continental economic recession and the prospects of making “easy” money was very enticing.
This chapter looks at the original gold strike in the summer of 1896 by George Carmack on Rabbit Creek (renamed Bonanza Creek) which precipitated the great rush.
News of Carmack’s strike did not reach the Island until the late summer of 1897. When it arrived, a contagious case of “Klondicitis” began to run rampant among certain segments of the population. There was a strong anti-goldrush sentiment on the Island, promoted strongly by the media, but it failed to deter a somewhat “mad” rush to the northwest which took place mainly from January to July 1898.
The Klondike frenzy, coupled with a latent desire for adventure and riches, enticed hundreds of Islanders to set out in the fall and winter of 1897-98. The majority of them waited until midwinter 1898 before leaving the Island, on the now infamous “Trail of ’98” which ended at Dawson City, on the Yukon River, adjacent to the Klondike goldfields.
Chapters 5 and 6:
These chapters describe in detail the many incredible and dangerous routes to the Klondike which collectively became known as the “Trail of ‘’98.”
This chapter describes the apparatus and attendant drudgery associated with extracting the “placer” gold (basically surface gold eroded by the elements and deposited in streams, estuaries, and creek beds) from the creeks or permafrost.
This chapter describes the many types of Islanders who headed out to the Klondike, and the motives that fed their frenzy for Klondike gold. A considerable number of Island “stampeders” (gold-seekers) are actually introduced in this chapter.
The divergent paths of profit and prayer cross in this chapter, and the story of two quite famous, now generally forgotten, Island Presbyterian missionaries who became legends in the Klondike – the Pringle brothers (formerly from Murray Harbour South and Charlottetown) – is portrayed.
This chapter portrays the harsh land of the Yukon and the desperate struggles to stay alive and find a lucky strike. Many tragedies are described in this chapter.
This chapter focuses on Dawson City, with its frontier character and everyday life during the goldrush.
This chapter deals with the arrival of Islanders in the Klondike after the great rushes of 1897 and 1898. This “third wave” was substantial, and the stories of several Islanders are told here.
In this final chapter, the author takes a hindsight look at the great Klondike adventure and its early development of the North as a vast region of resources. This chapter also focuses on those who made the journey from 1897-1900, and its effect on their lives.