I began my adult life as a fur trapper in the Rocky Mountains. I would spend the dead of winter with the Crow Indians. I earned the name "Shows No Mercy" among the Crow for my legendary fights with the Blackfoot, their worst enemy. I try to explain to the Crow that their way of life is doomed because of the westward tide of immigrants who will not try to live with the Crow as I had, but would push them from the land as though they never existed.
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To Breathe Free Air is the sequel to Shows No Mercy and is the further adventures of Walker Haugen, who was given a fortune in gold nuggets by the Crow Indians even after showing the chief what the gold could purchase. He finds himself only able to help the Crow people on a small scale. Because of his belief that one person cannot "own" another, he sets off on a quest to rid the world of slavery. This includes Blacks in the south and Native Americans in the north.