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H. "Dude" Lavington.

Victoria, Sono Nis Press, c1983.
203pp, paper, $9.95.
ISBN 0-919203-09-4.

Grades 10 and up.
Reviewed by Mary Fallis.

Volume 12 Number 2
1984 March

Nazco, the Cariboo, the Chilcotin, fabled names, and fabled country. "Dude" Lavington spent his adult life as a rancher near Baker Creek, a ranching area between the Nazco and the town of Quesnel, B.C. In the beginning, they were fifty miles from a post office, a distance only partly spanned by roads, and a trip which they made infrequently. In the 30s they used a Bennett buggy to help them transport people and supplies. Otherwise, horses were their means of travel and, of course, the base of all their working operations.

Various writers have given us interesting versions of the lives of people who have lived independently in isolated country, newspapermen discovering a Ralph Edwards, professional writers, adventurers; this book gives us a rancher's own memoirs.

There was enough material for two books. The first, Nine Lives of a Cowboy,* was published in 1982 and recounts the early life of "Dude" and his brother Art working as ranchers together. In Born to be Hung, Dude tells his own story from the time he started to build up his "home ranch" to his retirement years, still wintering cattle and horses on a mini-ranch near Salmon Arm.

"Dude" is a natural born story-teller. After all, spinning yarns is one of the occupations when ranchers and hunters get together. There is a zest in the telling for he was possessed of an enduring interest in everything that happened in the back country. And so much happened: wolves raided the herds at night; there was high water and flooding; there were hunting parties to guide, a source of always needed cash and also of moose hunting yarns. There was courting, three times the rancher took a wife finding congenial, gifted women to share ranch life, after he had made sure they knew to the full what ranch life would mean. There were years as a representative at the Cattlemen's Association Meetings. Around 1960, there was the building of a new house with electricity and a furnace for the first time. Eventually a forest road went through and a snowplow came by in winter.

He is a fine person, and it is a pleasure to read his version of events. He has a sense of fair play and dislikes sham, and he has a finely tuned sense of humour as the titles of his books reflect. These were the comments he and his brother would make when they had come through another crises that might have ended their careers.

This is a readable book simply as interesting personal memoirs; it is also a wonderful record of a way of life completely changed by roads, electric power, farm machines, and different economic conditions. There are sixteen pages of black-and-white snapshots and a sketch map of the Nazco country. *Reviewed vol. XI/3 May 1983 p.124.

Mary Fallis, Prince George, BC.
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