By Johnnie Bachusky
The Red Coat Trail of southern Saskatchewan and southeastern Alberta runs near the route of the North West Mounted Police’s famous 1874 March West. Today, this lonely highway passes through a windswept land of abandoned towns. Johnnie Bachusky takes readers back to the heyday of this region, when booming pioneer towns sprang up as settlers travelled west during the last great land rush. The Roaring Twenties brought bumper harvests but also bootleggers and bank robbers; fortunes were won and lost in raucous hotels and pool halls, and high-stakes poker games went on all night. The Great Depression devastated the area. Disease, drought, dust storms and grasshoppers took their toll. Some towns simply vanished; others now contain rows of boarded-up homes and businesses. But their history comes to life in these stories. From an account of a 1920s bank robbery in Manyberries to the tales of a boisterous Govenlock rancher who hunted with Buffalo Bill Cody and Wild Bill Hickok, these are compelling portraits of lost towns and the memorable characters who once called them home.