The plot of the story is set in the landscape of the mountains and the early days of the fur trade. During those days men left the comforts of their own homes to set out for the West trusting their instincts and the directions of the rivers.
From Missouri to Yellowstone and on through the caldera of the geysers where the birth of the snake begins to wind it’s way to the Teton ranges, it was the beaver that drew them, but it became something else that held them, something that is still there.
The “Big Sky” written by Guthrie is not just a tale of outcasts and renegades. It is a work that deserves accolades for its beautiful portrayal of history. The book is about the wisdom that people used to have, the wisdom one gains through the need to survive where “nature favors no man” and every opportunity is valuable as it may knock only once at your door. It is about the emotions of jealousy, love and friendship that occurs at every step of the journey. It is a tale about the passions of youth and the energy that fuels it. All of these feelings show themselves without any restraint and survival, for each day is the only thing that actually matters and everything that follows is secondary.
The protagonist of the story is Boone Claudill who abandons his home for the unknown land of the West after an altercation with his father. With a vague idea of an uncle who had also left for the West a long time ago, he decides to set out with the faint hope of finding him. The character has no idea about the difficulty that awaits him on his journey into the unknown.
As he sets out on his quest, he meets another man who turns into his trustworthy friend, that is until an unexpected tragedy happens. As we read through the book, we see him grow from a clumsy person who lacks confidence into a mentally strong mountain man flying towards his destiny. On his way he encounters a beautiful girl whom he recognizes from his childhood, his is infatuated and hopelessly in love with her. For me the big sky is storytelling at it’s finest and most honest, a love affair with the unspoiled wilderness and the early travellers.