A picturesque, reflective journey along the route of the ancient Milk River, from southern Alberta into northern Montana.
The Milk River is a small and dreamy river, flowing lazily through some of the loneliest lands of North America, the dry plains of Alberta and Montana. Dwarfed by such giants as the Saskatchewan and Mississippi Rivers, it is indeed as meek as its name, virtually unknown to most North Americans. Yet few streams can match its incredible international journey, the magical beauty of its landscape, or the long and often sad history that suffuses every inch of its 1,200-kilometre passage.
The Milk River has always been a special place for the Indigenous Peoples of the plains, providing them with physical and spiritual sustenance. Yet the river’s story also encompasses the settlement of the northwestern plains at a time of great change, when Indigenous ways of life were being systematically extinguished, first by brazen whiskey traders and later the flow of immigration and the military will of the US cavalry. As settlement prevailed, brave hopes and dreams often fell victim to injustices and anguish. With lyrical prose, stunning photography, and remarkable insight into the history and geography of the region, River of Dreams is a meditation on the beauty and significance of Milk River country.
"Liz Bryan's masterful telling of the highs and lows that have surrounded the Milk River country brings the reader on a wild ride along the River, from the Spite Ditch to Writing-on-Stone. As part of the journey, Bryan tells of the adventures of Kid Curry, the flight of the Nez Perces, the Cypress Hills massacre, and the whiskey trade." —Hugh Dempsey, historian and author of The Great Blackfoot Treaties and Napi: The Trickster
"Bryan includes many often-gorgeous photos, but it's her attunement to both the promise and the pain people find here that elevates this book. 'Does the land itself keep guard on all this emotion, all these memories, good and bad?' she asks. 'I think it does.'" —Alberta Views
"Liz Bryan had me from the first sentence."—Montana Quarterly
"Liz Bryan takes us on a journey of the heart through one of North America's least-known—and consequently most pristine—prairie landscapes. This book will doubtless inspire many to explore the living history and nature of the Milk's grasslands, coulees, canyons, and farms, but it's so beautifully illustrated and lovingly written that reading it is almost like being there."—Kevin Van Tighem, author of Our Place and Heart Waters