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Tough Trip Through Paradise, 1878-1879

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  301 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Distributed by the University of Nebraska Press for the University of Idaho Press
This book grew out of a manuscript left by Andrew Garcia on his death in 1942. Ben Stein acquired the manuscript and edited it to tell Garcia's story of the 1877 war between the U.S. government and the Nez Perce people, the end of the buffalo herds and other historic events in western life.
Paperback, 409 pages
Published January 1st 1967 by Caxton Press
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Beth Sohlberg
Jan 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is the memoir of frontiersman Andrew Garcia condensed and edited. Its doesn't read like a novel, because it is a memoir, and Garcia tends to ramble, but it is a fascinating read, particularly for those who live in, and love, the American West. Garcia lived in the wild west during the time when only Native American tribes hardy frontiersmen and trappers inhabited the country. Garcia went west for the excitment of being a trapper, but fell in love with the tough and sassy Indian girls, and th ...more
Don Becher
Jul 15, 2012 rated it liked it
The book was recommended to me by someone I met at the Big Hole National Battlefield in Montana. The site commemorates a battle (actually ambush of the Nez Perce)between soldiers & volunteers and a Native American group led by, among others, Chief Joseph. The book is taken from the journal of a rather colorful fur trader in the area who married a surviving Nez Perce. The book is not exactly a literary work, but its stiltedness and sometimes currently politically incorrect descriptions lend an ai ...more
Sep 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: adventure-true
This book was a slow read, not much action. Being a true story, I wouldn't expect it to be as action packed as a William Johnstone western.

Towards the end of the book there is a grizzly bear scene that was frightening and then a war against Indians by white men. I can't say that I found that interesting. Tragic, yes.

What was interesting was knowing that this was a true story written by a man who lived into the 1940s. I would really like to learn about the rest of his life but
only found a short
David Gross
Sep 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I just happened on this book at my independent bookstore. It is an amazing story told from the standpoint of the Nez Perce. Unique language expertly edited to retain the flavor and voice of the author who lived it. Humor, pathos and a damn fine tale, true as the author remembered it.
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, memoir
While some of the story is obviously conjecture (relating conversations to which the author was not privy), the meat of the tale smacks of authenticity. It is a fascinating look into an era as experienced first-hand by a white man. His exploits, both good and bad, bring the era and the Native Americans to life. Of course, since it was written by an undereducated man, it is choppy and awkward in places. However, rather than being off-putting, it adds to the authenticity.
Rich Manry
Jun 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. As a modern-day participant chained to our American culture of a fast-paced life, marriage, kids, a house, a yard, a pet, a career and a mortage, living “the American Dream” in the middle of poured concrete, shopping centers and Public grocery stores, I represent the horror of what the native American’s feared most.

Having a heart for the untamed West (for that matter, all of North America) and a sadness of its demise, this book allowed Andrew Garcia to take me back to a place and mi
Steve Heikkila
Apr 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is amazing. I stumbled upon it at a book store in Yellow Stone National Park. Garcia was a Mexican American who headed into the Mussell shell area of Montana after serving in the US Army to become one of the last mountain men. He traded with the indians, married a Nez Perce woman, fought with a grizzly bear, and ultimately ended up a rancher. He tried to write a memoir much later in life (its surprising that a fellow like him was even literate) but wasn't so hot on stringing the storie ...more
Jul 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Andrew Garcia's tale of trading with Native Americans in the Musselshell River valley and traveling across Montana with his Indian wife is one of the most honest accounts of life in the old west that I've read. I loved it. Garcia's honest and simple voice engages the reader as he narrowly dodges death at the hands (or claws) of horse thieves, whiskey traders, Blackfeet, Piegans, grizzly bears, and miners.

Granted, being from the area, I loved reading about bands of Indians living up the Boulder R
Apr 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american-west

This book's handwritten manuscript was found in a dynamite box in its author's Montana cabin after his death at age 88. Garcia was an original Western settler, arriving in Montana in 1878, one year after the famous Nez Perce Chief Joseph's surrender. If you want authentic Old West, here it is. Garcia tells it like he saw it, favoring neither Native Americans or Europeans. He marries three Indian women (sequentially) and leaves his past worl
Jan 26, 2012 rated it liked it
This memoir is a brutally honest portrayal of what life was really like for a young Montana fur trader who married an Indian in the 1870's. Because he was one of the few who followed this life who was both literate and didn't drink alcohol his tale rings true. Although he lived well into his 70's, he could have been killed almost any of the days in the less than two years he writes about. I'm glad this has come out in paperback. I couldn't find it anywhere, so I got a 1967 edition through inter- ...more
Michael Smith
Aug 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I just read this book for the second time - or maybe it's the third. This straightforward, non-fiction account of life in the American west in the 1870s is one of the most compelling adventure stories I've ever read. It owes its charm in part to its simplicity, its matter-of-fact relation of events that it would have been easy to romanticize, but that need no embellishment. It is one of the great disappointments of my life that someone has already written a book called "Tough Trip through Paradi ...more
Apr 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in natural history or the history of America's western frontier
This was really a great book on frontier history. This book presents a true account from a point of view that is generally not acknowledged (how poorly our country treated Native Americans). Not only does this book give us insight into the battle at Big Hole but it depicts the natural community before the land was colonized. It details a land abundant in wildlife, without exotic plants and animals, and consisting of pure air and water.
Feb 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
It is often hard to believe people roughed it the way they did, choosing a hard, often short life of adventure in the wilds, hoping to make a profit on furs and then wasting away their money on booze once they did...but that was true of the white men who first traveled into the Montana wilderness, and Garcia's first person account is humorous, sad, uplifting and enthralling all at the same time.
Kirsten McKeown
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
All sorts of “deviltry” and implausible but true adventures, told with an amusing “old fart” voice. There are equal parts sass and sadness, so there is something for everyone in here. A "tough trip" is putting it mildly.

This book is an edited 1960s version of Andrew Garcia’s memoirs, composed by him around the 1930s, about a year of adventuring as a horse and fur trader—and Cassanova to all First Nations ladies—in Montana and Idaho in the late 1870s. He’s a campfire storyteller—lots of historic
Mark Lisac
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
A thoroughly engrossing and entertaining memoir of life on the Montana frontier in the late 1870s. Garcia's voice alone, a vigorous and colourful vernacular, could probably serve as a guide in writing classes. Highlights, and there are many, include: young Andrew Garcia falling in with a dodgy crowd led by one "Big Nose George" as he rides into Montana territory to escape violent Texas; a scrape over a girl with a Metis trader who had moved south from what became Alberta; a terrifying encounter ...more
Mar 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
interesting history, just a bit difficult to get through
Susan Reese
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
First-hand account of living among Nez Perce Indians in 1878. Garcia was a mountain man who married a Nez Perce woman.
Doris Raines
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Nancy Lewis
Jul 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: montana
I wonder how true most of this is, considering that this was written 50 years after the events described.
Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: western
Born in El Paso in 1855, Andrew Garcia came to Montana with his uncle at age 13, driving pack mules, and lived there until his death in 1943. In his sixties, he decided to write down the story of his frontier youth; he worked on his ranch and in his orchards during the day, and wrote in the evening. He ended up with several thousand handwritten and typewritten pages, which he stored in dynamite boxes. A local editor and politician discovered these boxes, in 1960 bought them from Garcia's family, ...more
Mar 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
I bought this book more than a year ago at the Big Hole National Battlefield during my third visit there. The events that this battlefield memorialize are prominent throughout this book.

Tough Trip Through Paradise resulted from the discovery, compilation, and editing of mountain man Andrew Garcia's manuscript after his death in 1942. It is one of the most unique books I have ever read. As a young man Garcia established a small trading post in the heart of what was left of real Indian country in
Tom Schulte
Jun 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing work, edited together from the memoirs of a 19th Century Montana mountain man and trader, Andrew Garcia aka The Squaw Kid. The bulk of the book is an extraordinary tale of young and naive Garcia throwing in his lot with drunkard tapper Beaver Tom and ending up alone and living by his wits in the remote wilderness. Coming into his own, a second act finds him struggling to balance the demands of enemy Blackfeet and Pend d'Oreilles tribal bands in the area. In the particularly fa ...more
Montana, 1878 - Andrew Garcia, who came north from the Rio Grande area, left the army at 23 and heads out with a party of traders to make a living among the Indians in the Montana wilderness. He spends time in a Pend d'Oreille camp where he meets and eventually marries a Nez Perce squaw, In Who LIse, who was part of the party of Nez Perce at Big Hole, who had been attacked in the early dawn before any of them had left their tents by white soldiers 2 years previously. Men, women and children were ...more
Aug 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: westerns
Fabulous. A hidden treasure picked up at a used bookstore for 25 cents. My boyfriend, Andy Archuleta's father died in 2011 .Andy is second generation, his father, Carlos/Charles was born in Mexico, came to the US as a toddler because of an honor killing, the same reason Andrew Garcia came north with his father. Apparently the men in his family killed a 15 or 16 year old boy outside the family, who had raped a 12 year daughter. Spain was occupied by Islamic Arabs until 1492. Muslim paradise is 21 ...more
Annette Barber
Jun 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I cried at the Big Hole Battlefield and then I bought this book. All my life I have loved the story of Chief Joseph and his flight to Canada in search of freedom. This is as close as it gets to a first hand account into a way of life long gone from a frontier now populated, noisy, and fast. Andrew Garcia protected his account from would be movie producers who certainly would have changed his story, as they often did to please the masses. I cried at the Big Hole. I cried when I read Tough Trip.
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Andrew Garcia was a drifter, drover, indian trader, and settler in the waning days of the frontier in western Montana. He lived to be a fixture in the 1930s and 40s in what is now the Montana literary scene. This manuscript was edited and published posthumously. It is a rough gem, a tale told by someone who was there, but in an uncertain voice. It seems to be a blend of memoir and fiction built upon memoir. The final book seems a lot like Louis Garrard's 'Wah-to-yah, and the Taos Trail', a book ...more
J.D. McCall
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely the best book ever written about a mountain man. An autobiographical tale covering a year of his life among the Native Americans of Montana, Andrew Garcia's prose is amazing. Funny and extraordinarily colorful in his style, he weaves a picturesque and engrossing saga of his indoctrination into the Montana wilds under the brief tutelage of the rascally Beaver Tom, until his marriage to and the death of his Nez Perce wife. An extraordinarily eloquent account by a man you would not expec ...more
Kenneth Lagana
Apr 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
what an amazing and unique point of view. Andrew was one of few men who lived intimately with the Native Americans during their dispossession and one of the only men in his position to write about it. I had to keep reminding myself that this book was non-fiction! This is the first book I've read that very bluntly lays out the character of the American government and their utter lack of self control in the pillaging of the the native land and peoples and of the separation of the Native Americans ...more
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