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A Dangerous Journey, California 1849

Length: 74 pages1 hour


IN THE SUMMER OF 1849 there was in California one J. Ross Browne representing the United States Postal Service. In the course of his official duties he made a trip by “mulepower and footpower” from San Francisco to San Luis Obispo. The tale of this trip is authentic, unusual Californiana: the narrative combines the outlandish happenings of the journey—including a brush with outlaws, and a death battle between a bull and a huge bear—with a reporter’s penetrative observation on the rugged life in California a century ago.

A Dangerous Journey was first published as two articles in Harper’s Monthly for May and June, 1862. It was reissued in 1864 as a compilation, Crusoe’s Island: A Ramble in the Footsteps of Alexander Selkirk with Sketches of Adventure in California and Washoe.

This edition was first published in 1950.

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