Klondike lore is full of accounts of the exploits of Dangerous Dan McGrew, Sergeant Preston of the Mounted, and the Mad Trapper of Rat River. The stories vary from outright fabrications to northern fantasies and, on occasion, real-life accounts. Strange Things Done investigates a series of murders in the pre-World War II Yukon, exploring the boundaries between myths and historical events. The book seeks to understand both the specific events, carefully reconstructed from court evidence and police records, and the broader social and cultural context within which these violent deaths occurred. The murder case studies provide a unique and penetrating perspective on key aspects of Yukon history, such as Native-newcomer relations, mental illness and the folklore about cabin fever, the role of immigrants in northern society, violence in the gold fields, and the role of the police and courts in regulating social behaviour. The investigation of these capital cases also illustrates the fear and paranoia which gripped the territory in the aftermath of a murder, and the societys insistence on quick and retributive justice when offenders were caught and convicted. The Yukon experienced fewer murders than popular literature would suggest, and fewer than most would expect given the region's intense and dramatic history, but those that did occur illustrate the passions, frustrations, angers and human frailties that are present in all societies. The manner in which the murders occurred and the way in which Yukoners reacted also reveals specific and important aspects of territorial society.
About the authors
Ken S. Coates was raised in Whitehorse and has a long-standing interest in northern themes. Titles include Canada’s Colonies, The Sinking of the Princess Sophia, The Modern North, North to Alaska (on the building of the Alaska Highway) and many academic books. He has worked on north-centred television documentaries and served as a consultant to northern governments and organizations. He is currently Professor of History and Dean of Arts, University of Waterloo.
William R. Morrison is professor emeritus of history at the University of Northern British Columbia.
Other titles by Ken S. Coates
Canada’s Founding Debates, 1864-1999
Land of the Midnight Sun, Third Edition
A History of the Yukon
Land of the Midnight Sun
A History of the Yukon, Third Edition
Considering College 2-Book Bundle
Dream Factories / What to Consider If You're Considering College
Considering University 2-Book Bundle
Dream Factories / What to Consider If You're Considering University
Why Universities Won't Solve the Youth Jobs Crisis
On the Frontier
Letters from the Canadian West in the 1880s
From Treaty Peoples to Treaty Nation
A Road Map for All Canadians
What to Consider If You're Considering College
New Rules for Education and Employment