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|As the sub-title suggests, Wilderness of Strangers: A Modern Variation on Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped is the retelling of the great Scottish author's story of a young Lowland Scottish lad's adventures upon becoming mixed up in the intrigue of Highland Scottish resistance to the English in the 18th century. The original tale turns upon an historical event, called the 'Appin Murder' in which a representative of the British Crown, Colin Campbell of Glenure, was killed allegedly by a Highlander named James Stewart, who was hanged for the crime. The conviction of James Stewart is considered today to be one of the great miscarriages of justice in Scottish history. |
Wilderness of Strangers is set in North America in 1975 and is the story of Beverly Dunbar, a 17-year-old girl from the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, of whom circumstances conspire to make a witness to the historical event that has become known as the 'Incident at Oglala' in which two FBI agents and an Indian man were killed in a tragic shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The Highlander, James Stewart, of Stevenson's story stands perhaps as an historical antecedent to the fate of Leonard Peltier who remains in prison today convicted for the murder of the two agents at Pine Ridge.
Beverly Dunbar's life is changed forever when she must come to terms with issues arising from the politics of domination, the notions of resistance, cultural identity, trust and friendship as she flees from the authorities in the company of Louis Leclair, an American Indian Movement activist; a friend and yet possible killer.