While the plot of The Barrier approaches the melodrama, and the sensitive reader is shocked by the brutal use of the English language, the vividness of the descriptions carries him bodily into the wilds of Alaska, and when the book is closed he feels as if he himself had shot roaring rapids, had been tortured by mosquitoes, and had looked down the threatening barrel of a Colt's .44. The story is of an Arctic enchantress, who captivates Lieutenant Burrell of the United States Army.
r's food, how he eked out his scanty stock, dealing to each and every one his portion, month by month. They remembered well the bitter winter that followed, when the spectre of famine haunted their cabins, and when for endless periods they cinched their belts, and cursed and went hungry to sleep, accepting, day by day, the rations doled out to them by the grim, gray man at the log store. Some of them had money-belts weighted low with gold washed from the bars at Forty Mile, and there were others who had wandered in from the Koyukuk with the first frosts, foot- sore and dragging, the legs of their skin boots eaten to the ankle, and the taste of dog meat still in their mouths. Broken and dispirited, these had fared as well through that desperate winter as their brothers from up-river, and received pound for pound of musty flour, strip for strip of rusty bacon, lump for lump of precious sugar. Moreover, the price of no single thing had risen throughout the famine.
Some of them, to this day, owed bills at Old