Healy’s West

The Life and Times of John J. Healy

By (author): Gordon E. Tolton
ISBN 9781927527658
Softcover | Publication Date: July 8, 2014
Book Dimensions: 6 in x 9 in
304 Pages

About the Book

Through his incredibly varied fifty-year career, John J. Healy left an indelible mark on the Canadian and American west. At different points in his storied life, Healy was a soldier, a trapper, a prospector, a free trader, an explorer, a horse dealer, a scout, a lawman, a newspaper editor, a speculator, a merchant, a capitalist, a historian, and a politician. He defied classification while defining the lifestyle of a frontier adventurer and buccaneer capitalist in the late nineteenth century.

In Healy’s West, Gordon E. Tolton cuts through the mythology and controversy of this larger-than-life character, giving us the most complete and truly balanced account of Healy’s life ever published. From Irish famine to army saddle; from scouting on the Oregon Trail to digging for mountain gold in Idaho; from taking on powerful monopolies to trading with the Blackfoot; from political manoeuvring to hunting down rustlers behind a sheriff’s badge, Healy challenged life, nature, enemies and, governments head on—in print, in business, and in physical combat. An entertaining and critical portrayal of the west’s most charismatic figure, Healy’s West is a must-read for any history buff


About the Author(s)

Raised on a family farm near Taber, Alberta, Gordon E. Tolton is an amateur historian, re-enactor, author, and raconteur. While working in the agricultural, construction, and service industries, he volunteered for several heritage-related societies and historic sites and became immersed in history while learning the disciplines of writing, archiving, and museum practices. Gord was the history coordinator for the United Farmers of Alberta and has been associated with Fort Whoop-Up National Historic Site for over twenty-two years. His interests centre on the cross-border trade of the late 1800s, the 1885 North-West Rebellion, and the history of agriculture in Alberta. He is the author of four previous books, including Cowboy Cavalry and Prairie Warships. He lives in Coaldale, Alberta, with his wife, Rose.


"Healy's West is an excellent book which should be read by everyone interested in the early development of the Plains west of the Yukon." —John L. Motherwell, author, Goldrush Steamboats: Francis Rattenbury's Yukon Venture
"So complete an examination of a significant life all but forgotten is to be commended." —Edward Massey Books
"Tolton superbly chronicles the many facets of frontiersman John J. Healy . . . His superb writing produces a well-rounded, captivating overview of Healy, revealing both his many grand accomplishments and his trail of shadowy dealings." —Jeff Friend, Foreword Reviews
"Too often in the western saga, real personalities, real costs to individuals and real underlying motivations remain untold. In Healy's West, Alberta native Gordon E. Tolton reminds readers of these missing elements." —Cara Chamberlain, Billings Gazette
Podcast, "Gordon E. Tolton, Healy's West, History Author Show