For over thirty years, from the time of Lewis and Clark into the 1840s, the mountain men explored the Great American West.
As trappers in a hostile, trackless land, their exploits opened the gates of the mountains for the wagon trains of pioneers who followed them.
In Give Your Heart to the Hawks, Win Blevins presents a poetic tribute to these dauntless Western explorers and their incredible adventures.
Here, among many others, are the stories of:
* John Colter, the first mountain man who, in 1808, naked and without weapons or food, escaped captivity by the Blackfeet and ran and walked 250 miles to Fort Lisa at the mouth of the Yellowstone River;
* Hugh Glass, who was mauled by a grizzly in 1823, left for dead by his trapper companions, and crawled 300 miles to Fort Kiowa on the Missouri;
* Kit Carson, who ran away from home at age 17, became a legendary mountain man in his 20s and served as scout and guide for John C. Fremont’s westward explorations of the 1840s;
* Jedediah Smith, a tall, gaunt, Bible-reading New Yorker whose trapping expeditions ranged from the Rockies to California and who was killed by Comanches on the Cimarron in 1831.
“No one since the great A. B. Guthrie, Jr., has a better feel for the world of the mountain man.”—Don Coldsmith
“It was an epic time, which lasted hardly more than a third of a century before civilization swarmed west on trails the mountain men had blazed. Now Blevins sees they are paid the awed honor that is due them, in a book which has the drama and suspense of a novel.”—Los Angeles Times
“For the lover of the early West, it is good entertainment…with lots of color, suspense and excitement.” —The Denver Post
“Wilderness stories that will leave you agape and agog.
“Western novelist Blevins spins robust, theatrical and mostly true tales of early-19th-century American mountain men. He comes at the stories with gusto, dramatizing to a certain extent these frontiersmen’s fantastic experiences, from the exploits of John Colter in 1808 to Kit Carson’s legendary work as John C. Fremont’s scout during the 1840s.
“Along the upper Missouri River, Colter ran afoul of some Blackfeet Indians, who stripped him of his clothes and told him to run. Stark naked, with nothing but his hands to gather food, he managed to make his way hundreds of miles to Fort Lisa on the Yellowstone.
“Blevins follows up that opening chapter with the equally mind-boggling saga of Hugh Glass, torn to shreds by a grizzly bear and left in the hands of two reluctant young caregivers who were annoyed when he didn’t die quickly. After they abandoned him, taking his rifle and supplies, he crawled and stumbled for 250 miles to Fort Kiowa.
“Blevins colorfully profiles several other hardy adventurers, including hardcore wanderer Jedediah Smith-men for whom it was natural when departing each other’s company to talk of a rendezvous two years down the line. Yet he dismisses the notion that they were vagabonding reprobates, pointing to their varied business interests. The author also unsnarls the competing agendas of the various fur-collecting agencies and ponders the sexual mores of natives and trappers.
“Most gratifyingly, he evokes the glories of the mountain men’s geography: the natural wonders they described from the Missouri River to the Sierra Nevada to the sere Southwest. Wilderness stories that will leave you agape and agog.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Best Book I’ve Ever Read. After having been an avid reader of books on many varied subjects over the last 40 years, I can truly say that this is the best book I have ever read on any subject, fiction and non-fiction.
“Anyone who desires to learn about the true life of freedom experienced by the mountain men or who wishes to learn of the history of the early West will not be disappointed with this book and will come away from the experience with a profound appreciation of the early trail-blazers. This is one of those books that you “can’t put down.” I will never give this book away but will purchase copies for my friends who have the same interests.” — Tom Dering
“Winfred Blevins’ `Give Your Heart to the Hawks’ is exactly what its sub-title claims: a tribute to the Mountain Men. It is neither a historical novel nor a pure history. Rather, it is accurate history, albeit with Blevins’ interpretation of the thoughts and emotions that the mountain men were experiencing during some of their most dangerous and daring exploits added. This technique removes the book from the roles of strict history, but works well in creating the tribute that the author intended, for his goal was not simply to chronicle the bones of their history, but to bring to life their wild and free existence and allow the reader to enter into the spirit of the mountain man’s life…
“…Blevins tells some of the most thrilling tales of the era, like John Colter’s desperate naked run from Indian braves pursuing him for sport, Hugh Glass’ amazing solo trek through 300 miles of wilderness without weapons or any tools for survival after being left for dead when mauled by a grizzly, or Jed Smith’s daring crossings of the desert and mountains to find a land route to California.
“‘Any man who survived for several years as a trapper, taking responsibility for his own survival alone in the wilds, had been schooled thoroughly by the Rocky Mountains.’ Trapping, yarning, rendezvous, buffalo-cuisine,, mountain crafts, mountain courting, and trappers and Indians together are a few of the subjects of mountain life dealt with. Blevins also includes a few colorful accounts written by the rare, literate mountain man detailing their unique life.
“He succeeds admirably in breathing life into this too often neglected period of amazing individuals who blazed the way for the westward expansion of the American nation.” — Theo Logos, The Alumni of Rocky Mountain College Group
“Vivid. I only wish the characters in most history books and movies could be portrayed half as vividly as they are in this book.” — Meg Matthews, Boston
“Highly Recommended. Lyrical and Novelistic. Well-known, and not quite-so-well known, mountain men who trapped beaver and explored the west, often alone or in small parties,lived for a fleeting few decades before the wagon wheels of the emigrant parties followed them. Their world was fleeting, and soon gone, and yet the mocassin-prints they left on the lands they explored still resonate.” Celia Hayes, San Antonio
“Nice compilation of various stories…movie bound? As an avid reader of mountain man/trade stories I would rate this book up there. The author has used various stories/books and added a time and character sequence to it. The end result is a book with a story that reads fast and is highly entertaining.” — Roberto Wille
“Only half way through it and l love it!!! America’s early years. Win Blevins’ writing adds a heartbeat, pulse, sweat, powder, shot, blood and campfire smoke to these wonderful stories that might seem dry if one was to watch them on The History Channel or in another book! Awesome read. It has an odd title that gives some of my friends a puzzled look when they read the cover, but who cares when the book is this good. You won’t regret learning how hard these men lived, their passion for the wilderness, how they preserved the their right to defend, live, and earn everything they had, and about some early history of our country that is not emphasized enough in our schools. Simply entertaining for a historical read. Now, back to reading it!! Buy it…………………NOW!” Ryan Moore, ABQ, NM
“If you want to know more about these fascinating men and those times, this is by far the best and most readable place to begin.
“I first read this book over 25 years ago while traveling in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado. A trip I have made 14 times. I have also read stand-alone biographies of most of the great mountain men; Jedediah Smith, Hugh Glass, Jim Bridger, Kit Carson, Joe Meeks, Tom McDonald, and many more. I donated my collection of mountain men/Indian biographies (over 30 volumes in all) to our local library.” — D. Byrne, Texas
“A MUST READ for any novice or expert it covers the gamut in an honestly, exciting, historical fashion. Don’t miss this one.” Michael J. Shea, USA
“I love this book. One of the best books that I have ever read. You almost think that you are there with the trappers.” — Mike Utsey, Silas, AL
“This book should be in every high school and every University & College Library!!!” — Linus Heydibn II, M.S.
“I assure you that reading this book will make you aware of a world you never knew existed. It’s an investment in time and money that is well worth both.
“How Civilization Bring Eras to an End… What an eye opening account and education of what went on in the early 1800’s with these incredible men. My new found hero is Jedidiah Smith! I confess I was wondering while reading just where the book was headed and like most books, I found it at the end.
“Civilization, Religion, and Commerce all eventually transformed what was once a clean, pure, pristine and very innocent area of the country, into something completely different than it had been. I found it sad and amusing that once again, Belief Follows Need.
“The religious die-hards needed to believe that the Indian Tribes (what an education you get on the various Indian Tribes, too) wanted to become Christians and therefore needed to become White, when in fact, all they wanted was to understand the White man’s technology and how things were made.” — Jr. Altfeld, Management Consultant, Burbank, California, USA
“One of my favorite books. It changed my life. I bought this book to give to a friend who hasn’t read it yet, because I didn’t want to give away my own copy.
“When most people on the East Coast think of the West, they think in terms of cowboy movies. This book covers the period before the cowboys – the time when mountain men went out as trappers and lived off the land.
“What a different world we’d be living in if the mountain men had been the only contact with the native tribal people! For the most part they got along with them and traded with them, and the two groups respected each other. I also liked finding out that all the mountain men weren’t white- there were quite a few of African descent, including the founder of what became Chicago. I read this book in my teens, and it changed the way I viewed America and its history.” — music lover and cultural anthropologist, New York, NY
“Great reading material about the lives of the Mountain Men that opened up the West. A definite insight to the rugged and free lives, and deaths of the trappers and adventurers that put the West on the map. A must read!”– William Zieres, Madison, New York, USA
“Definitely a worthwhile read, entertaining, and authentic. I highly recommend this book. Entertaining, enthralling and compelling. My advice is to get the paperback, and mark it up as you go thru, as you will want to return to it often for reference or refreshing.” — Rough Customer, Amazon
“Never have so few lived such adventurous lives! During the era of the Mountain Men, lasting from 1806 to 1843, a few hundred Americans trapped or traded for beaver in the Rocky Mountains. Blevins tells the romantic story of some of these men, especially those who made their living around the northern Rockies in Wyoming, Utah, and Montana.
“…The lives, customs, and tortured language of the Mountain Men, including the debauchery of rendezvous… The untamed West in all its pristine glory is well-described in ‘Give your Heart to the Hawks.’” — Smallchief, Reader
“Totally captivating and richly entertaining. Winfred Blevins uses the information available to paint a vivid and colorful picture in the mind of the reader about the life and experiences of these hardy souls. The stories are engrossing and the writing makes you feel as if you are there seeing these things happen right before your own eyes.
“You can almost smell the buffalo roasting on a spit over an open campfire, or hear the sounds of the indians yelping it up right before John Colter takes off on his famous run, or taste the crystal clear waters of the headwaters of the Missouri river as they come rushing out of the high mountains of the Yellowstone country.
“You don’t just read this book, you feel the stories it tells. This is definitely one of the best books I have read in a while. The information it shares and the entertainment it provides is some of the best out there…” — Robert McCullough, Calimesa, CA, USA
“Highly Educational and Terrifically Fun! ‘Hawks’ is one of the most powerful and fascinating books I’ve ever read. It is not fiction, but it is also not a dry, tedious historical documentary. “Wagh!!” (to use mountain man jargon) it reads like an adventure novel; interesting, captivating and wholly entertaining. But it is highly educational too. One of the best of its type and appropriate for all ages.” — MXS, California
“An incredible read…I couldn’t wait to get home every night to continue the never ending saga of these men of heroic proportions. The depth of information by the author woven into an amazing technicolor fabric of a story that really needs to be told and told well is in this book. I became immersed in the lives of these characters and characters they were. I could almost feel what they felt as they lived their lives among that untamed wilderness we simply call the west, however, the lives of these amazing men was anything but simple.” — A Customer, Amazon
“Historical and entertaining. This book is a wonderful example of the American frontier. The book goes in depth into the lives and the history of men like Jed Smith and Hugh Glass. Some of the stories sound fictional and incredible, but they are all real and accurate, the men were just that incredible! Win Blevins is an excellent writer, and he very accurately portrays the incredible lives of these men. A first class book!” — Sharks, Maryland, USA
“Lived it and Did It! I worked and lived in most of this country during the mid 70’s for an outfitter in the Yellowstone country. The grizzlies and wolves are still there. Beautiful and Wild.” –A N.W. Reader
“Once folks get their hands on this one, they just don’t want to let it go. It has been many years since I first read this book. What I do remember is that I loved it so much I loaned it to someone who loved it so much they never returned it. So I bought another and loaned it to someone who loved it so much . . . well, you get the picture. Once folks get their hands on this one, they just don’t want to let it go. History and folklore of the Old West really come alive between its covers. A great book to read aloud to friends sitting around a campfire at night.” —gbword, Los Angeles, CA