This is the story of Mary Standish and her escape from her past into the uncivilized wilderness of Alaska in the early 1900s. It is the story of Alan Holt and his fight to protect Alaskan resources and his own vast ranch land. As the two stories intertwine, the politics and corruption threatening the native people and land of Alaska are revealed. The stories of Mary and Alan also lead the reader through gripping action on the Alaskan frontier where men fought battles as in the days of the Wild West of America with the law hundreds of miles away across the wilderness. James Oliver Curwood spent many years in this wilderness and wrote authentically from first hand experience. He also was an astute observer of the political influence on conservation and land use. He was an ecologist before it was popular and was appointed Chairman of the Game, Fish, and Wildlife Committee of the Michigan Department of Conservation in 1927. It is interesting to read this novel, set amidst real problems that Alaskans faced in 1910 before the discovery of oil - when gold, crops, herds, and land were the commodities people fought over.