Coker Owen Ford is not a person to mince words. Rufe had known his mountain man partner for so long and they covered each other’s backs through so many perilous adventures that he instinctively knew the gravity of the situation just by looking at his partner’s face. Even if he had told Rufe that he needed to leave immediately, Coker felt that he owed Rufe an explanation. It started with the letter’s mention of Misty Valley, a place that Coker had etched in memory. It was there where he had brought his wife, Trissy Renn to live with him.
Mountain men are not talkative by nature. They prefer to be silent like the granite-faced monoliths they inhabit. Rufe now understood why bringing the topic of Misty Valley had shaken Coker to the core. The love of his life, Trissy Renn, had died in Misty Valley but not before bringing into the world a little girl as angelic as her mother. Coker’s world had revolved around Bonnie after her mother’s death. It had made living without Trissy bearable.
Happiness never lasts for long. In Coker’s case, he rued the day he brought Bonnie down to Denver to see her aunt. He wanted Bonnie to go to school and to be as educated as Trissy. To his regret, Bonnie’s aunt filed in court a petition for custody of the child, a petition that a partial judge granted with haste. When Coker got back, Bonnie and her aunt were nowhere to be found. He had lost Bonnie and, in his attempt to ease his bitterness, he retreated deep into the mountains of Colorado.
It was time to bid the mountain goodbye, however. Bonnie was calling for him. She was desperately reaching out for help. This time, there would be no mountain or plain to stop him. He will live or die like the implacable mountain man that he is.
In Coker: A Mountain Man’s Story, the author Wesley Arlin Brown, has coated the main character, Coker, with such pathos that one cannot but feel the anguish running through his veins with the force of a tidal wave. It makes one want to leap from page to page to find redemption, and hopefully, a satisfying ending.