It’s 1840, and Robert Terrill Rundle—sent from Cornwall, England, to Christianize the "wild" Indians of the Canadian plains—enters a harsh world. The whites cling to their isolated forts, while the Blackfoot Confederacy and the Plains Cree Alliance struggle for control of their hunting grounds and the diminishing buffalo herds. So sets the stage for The Methodist Man, a novel by Terrence Rundle West.
Rundle was one of four Methodists the Hudson Bay Company invited to establish missions in Rupert’s Land, a vast territory that stretched from what is now Alberta to northern Quebec, Nunavut to the western states of Montana, Minnesota, and the Dakotas. Rundle was based in Fort Edmonton and assigned the Saskatchewan region.
During his eight-year mission, Rundle spent his fondest months in the area around Rocky Mountain House and Gull Lake, where he befriended many mixed-bloods, Cree, and Assiniboine. He faithfully recorded these burgeoning relationships in his diary, along with his many struggles―physical, spiritual, emotional, and environmental―as he set about fulfilling his vocation.
Terrence Rundle West, a descendent of Reverend Rundle’s older brother, John, has used these first-hand accounts as the basis for his fictionalized account of Rundle’s time in the northwest. He adeptly brings to life such historic figures as Chief Factor John Rowand and Chief Trader Ted Harriott of the Hudson Bay Company, Cree Chief Maskepetoon, Peigan (Blackfoot) Chief Many Swans, Assiniboine (Sioux) Chief Piapot, and Jesuit priest Jean De Smet. A long-established way of life for fur traders and First Nations alike was coming to an end, and Rundle found himself in the middle as the various factions fought to survive.
Rundle made a significant impact during his time in the Saskatchewan. His name is found on landmarks throughout Alberta, from schools, to parks, to a mountain overlooking the town of Banff. The Methodist Man by Terrence Rundle West is a fast-paced, suspenseful journey into a vanished world on the Canadian prairies during the 1840s.