On the run from the authorities and the angry townspeople of Weasel City, British Columbia, in the early 1940s, teenage Loretta and her younger brother, Teddy, travel with their gambling stepfather, "Bean-Trap" Braden, as he strikes out in search of a good poker game in the Canadian and American West. Loretta and Teddy try to adjust to life on the run as they shuttle from ghost town to ghost town, jumping borders and stowing away on trucks, sleds, and trains. As the children make friends in places like Butte, Montana; Spokane, Washington; and Ferguson, British Columbia, Bean-Trap creates enemies wherever they go. Loretta and Teddy try to persuade their father to keep on the straight and narrow, but instead Bean-Trap schemes to stay one step ahead of all the sore losers who are right behind him and hot on the trail of his gold.
Shirlee Smith Matheson has written many books for young people and adults, including numerous junior novels and non-fiction works. Currently living and writing in Calgary, she is the author of Keeper of the Mountains (Thistledown), Fastback Reach (Orca), and Lost: True Stories of Canadian Aviation Tragedies (Fifth House).