Bannock and Beans

Bannock and Beans

A Cowboy's Account of the Bedaux Expedition

Book - 2009
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In 1934, in the middle of the Great Depression, millionaire Charles Bedaux spent $250,000 in an attempt to cross northern British Columbia in five motorized vehicles. The Bedaux Expedition ranks as one of the most audacious and unusual events in the province's history. Bannock and Beans tells the story of this extravagant failure from the perspective of one of the cowboys who worked on Bedaux's team. Bob White's reminiscences, recounted in the tradition of the cowboy storyteller, describe the hardships of cutting trails and hauling supplies on horseback, the beauty of the wilderness landscape and many of the unique aspects of the expedition.

Bannock and Beans also reveals the complex character of the expedition's leader, Charles Bedaux, a French entrepreneur who made his fortune in the United States. The book includes White's experiences in Bedaux's attempts to develop a ranch in northern BC after the expedition.

Editor Jay Sherwood supplements with original Bedaux Expedition correspondence and photographs to show Bedaux's strong attachment to the remote wilderness area of northern BC from 1926 to 1939. Bannock and Beans provides new information and a fresh perspective on this unique event in BC's history. White's memoirs take us back to the campfire stories of people who were part of the vast wilderness that still covered much of the northern part of the province 75 years ago.

Publisher: Victoria : Royal BC Museum, c2009.
ISBN: 9780772660602
Characteristics: 239 p. :,ill. ;,23 cm.


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Jun 12, 2017

The subtitle for this memoir, "a cowboy's account of the Bedaux Expedition, is misleading as Bob White was not involved with the main body of the expedition. He was transporting supplies by horse to establish caches for the advancing expedition. Nevertheless, this memoir is an entertaining and informative account of a way of life that has largely vanished from the Province of British Columbia - the back country horseback traveller, trapper and prospector. A pair of basic maps for the Bedaux Expedition are provided but a better map of northeastern British Columbia with place and geographic names used in the text would have helped readers; and the book lacks an index. The Bedaux party included a surveyor to map the "unexplored" territory. However, it becomes clear to the reader, quickly, that northern British Columbia, in the 1930s, was populated with traders, settlers, trappers, prospectors, and aboriginal residents - who all helped Bob White in his horse transport operations.

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