Sgt. Preston, Wyatt Earp and me.

here is the link:
There was a pretty nifty book published about a decade ago called "Salt".  The premise was that until we hit the age of home refrigeration or some other Sears-Maytag-Frigidaire milestone, salt wasn't just for the eggs in the morning but was the preserver of all meats etc., right down to making the brine for ice cream mixers.  It was, in a word or two, white gold that caused people to locate and migrate in search thereof and most great nexus cities in the world grew up on trade-paths that carried salt. Actually it makes a lot of sense and in thinking about it, the only similar material that drew folks like salt did was and is gold. Something you can dig out with your hands, store forever, and not need some huge drill to burrow out of the ground. In the scope of things, not all that common.

I grew up as something of a fan of the writer Jack London and his clear prose describing the wilderness made for interesting dreams on more than one occasion.  At the same time, I was consumed by Sargent Preston of the Northwest Mounted Police and particularly the radio version which led to a melding of the London prose and imagery with the sound effects and breathless scripts of the serial. I do own one square inch of the Klondike courtesy of Quaker Oats (the sponsor).  Buck, the dog was stolen from California by someone with gold fever.  Sgt. Preston kept everyone in line who had the fever. The lure of gold.

Wyatt passed through Juneau on his way north
Into this mix came Wyatt Earp, 'brave courageous and bold' as his theme song went via an early TV series and a Classic Readers book of the month. From what I knew then and learned then, Mr. Earp spent some time in Dodge City and then went on to Tombstone and was a great lawman at all times - brave, courageous and bold. The little book with the desert hued dust jacket failed to mention that he was arrested and in trouble about as much as the citizens he had to police and, by all historical accounts, led the life of a rake.  He also followed gold to Alaska after he followed it to California.

Business card and all
Wyatt set up a saloon in Nome (the Dexter Saloon - probably named after John Dexter who owned claim #1 on Dexter Creek) and it was a hit.  Imagine though, Wyatt Earp, Nome Alaska.  It pretty much killed my chances of ever working that mix into a a daydream that featured King the Husky Dog and Buck of Call of the Wild.

I looked at the Nome Webcam today as it is on my favorites list and figure that the Dexter Saloon probably sat about where that red building sits and is now city hall.  I also see that saloon in my mind's eye in 1900 or so, drafty, creaky and impossible in the winter; Ike's piano fingers like frozen wooden pegs. It doesn't jibe (not jive) with Sgt. Preston and sled dogs in the wilderness. Perhaps its because there is the sea right there and a windblown tundra that starts outside of town and goes as far as you can walk.  The scene just doesn't play out.
4004 W 17th in LA - now...not then.
Wyatt didn't stay up north very long, finding his way back to Los Angeles, dying in a small apartment at 4004 W 17th Street. Pretty much in the middle of the Los Angeles "nowhere".  Buck died free in the wilderness.

Sgt. Preston died in glory.