Three Against the Wilderness

Life in the ‘wilderness’

The Collier cabin on Meldrum Creek (Wil Stewart in the foreground).
The building was restored by the Canadian Army Engineers in 1989, after public protests against plans to demolish it. This four-room cabin replaced the original, one-room home which the Colliers occupied when they first moved to Meldrum Creek.  A recent visitor posted this video of the property in 2016.

The story of the restoration is told in a chapter in Irene Stangoe’s book Looking Back at the Cariboo-Chilcotin, published by Heritage House in 1997.

In his book, Eric Collier (as his title suggests) paints a picture of the life he led with his family as remote and isolated. They were ‘three against the wilderness’.
How did Veasy Collier recall that life?
[Click on the ‘play’ arrow to hear the interview clip below.]

According to Eric Collier’s book, the family headed straight from Riske Creek to Meldrum Creek.
Veasy Collier revealed that this was not the whole story.

7 Responses

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  1. James v. Delk, Whitwell, TN, USA said, on March 11, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    I remember my mother reading the Readers Digest condensation of “Three Against the Wilderness” in 1959 to me when I was nine and to two boys who lived up the road. I’ve read the book numerous times and continue to enjoy it – and have in recent years given or loaned a copy to several out doorsmen, friends of mine. Please know that they too have enjoyed it. Please cherish the knowledge that the story is still respected and appreciated.

    James V. Delk, 154 Sunset Drive, Whitwell, TN 37397

    • Don Elarton said, on July 30, 2017 at 8:26 pm

      Thanks for your post. I was 16 in 1959 and remember reading the Reader’s Digest Magazine condensation back then. When it came back to me as a young married man of 26 I bought a copy of the book and it was even more wonderful than the condensation. But that magazine version had personal memories for me because it began a lifetime of reading wilderness tales. Off and on over the years I tried to determine what issue that magazine version was in. I didn’t even remember the year. Thanks to your post I finally discovered that it was the Book Section of the October 1959 issue of Reader’s Digest Magazine. I promptly ordered a copy from an Amazon Seller. Thank you!

      By the way, this site is incredible. Thank you so much, James Stewart. I hope this site never disappears from the internet.

      Don Elarton, Martelle, Iowa

  2. Theodore Benton said, on February 5, 2012 at 5:20 am

    Thanks for the post
    I also loved this book
    I was born in 1959.
    But my Nana gave me copy in 1973
    Loved it & I still have it.

    Theodore Benton Adelaide Australia

  3. Dmitry Prokopyev said, on May 27, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    I got copy of book in 1997 when i was eleven. I read it numerous times and Colliers became my friends.
    I really love this book.

    Dmitry Prokopyev, Usinsk Russia

  4. James Condie said, on September 26, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    It’s a book I’ve read several times and I’m still amazed by the idea of going it alone with a family in such a remote area. It is interesting to use today’s technology and to access Google earth and view the area. I hope to make a trip with an adventure bike to the area. I had also viewed the You Tube video interviewing Veasy Collier and found it brought a lot of perspective to the story. It would be nice to meet and talk to him.

  5. Susan Phillips said, on October 25, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    My husband was given this book when he was a youngster. I first read it in the late ’70’s and have reread it several times since. In the middle of the current rereading, it finally occurred to me that I could google Medrun Creek and view the same area about which I’m reading. How wonderful to see the area AND listen to the interviews with Veasy Collier!

    Susan Phillips
    Denton TX

  6. A Willard Martz said, on March 18, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    I recommended this book to our Junior High reading group. The boys loved it and so did the girls. Eric Collier was a very good writer

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