This finally penetrated my thick skull. I did not like it because I thought I knew something about the Blackfeet.
Were they as bad as they were represented?
Into the records. The real records. Into Alexander Henrys journal. Into this and out of that until I had a stack of material higher than my desk.
And then I capped the climax by locating a young chap in Seattle who happens to be a blood brother of the Blackfeet. Lewis and Clarks Journal contained about five pages concerning the circumstances which surrounded the killing of a Blackfoot brave by Lewis.
The way this suddenly shot down the groove is remarkable to remember. The Hudsons Bay Company, the NorWesters, the Blackfeet, John Jacob Astor...The story pieces dovetailed with a click.
Coupled with years of experience in the northwest, these hundred sources jibed to make the story.
The result was Buckskin Brigades, a novel being put out this summer by Macaulay.
Buckskin Brigades came to life because I happened to be bored enough one evening to sit and stare at a line of books on a shelf.
This account of researching is not complete unless I mention a certain dogging phobia I have and which I suspect is deeply rooted in most of us.
H. Bedford Jones mentioned it long ago and I did not believe him at the time. But after rolling stacks of it into the mags, I know that BJ was right as a check.
He said that it was hard for a person to write about the things he knew best.
This gives rise to an ancient argument which says pro and con that a writer should write about the things he knows.
Witnesseth: I was born and raised in the West and yet it was not until last year that I sold a couple westerns. And I only sold those because somebody said I couldnt.
Know ye: The Caribbean countries know me as El Colorado and yet the only Caribbean stories I can write are about those countries which I have touched so briefly that I have only the vaguest knowledge of them and am therefore forced to depend upon researching the books and maps for my facts.
Hear ye: I wrote fine Hollywood stories until I came down here and worked in pictures. I wrote one while here and the editor slammed it back as a total loss.
Search For Research continued...