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Season 6

John & Oliver Jeffries
Ronnie Glass
Marjorie Linthicum
Val Haynes
Chief Crowfoot
Hans Richter
Al Stohlman
Charles Russell
John Innes
James Sanderson
High Chaparral
Lloyd Cyclone Smith
Commissioner Wood


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James Sanderson

A robust, handsome energetic man, James Sanderson could be called one of the last of the great frontiersmen.

He was born March 23, 1848 in Athabasca Landing in one of the most colorful eras of the Canadian frontier. He received sporadic formal schooling; his real education began when he accompanied his family on several buffalo hunting trips in the late 1860s. It was during these times he also learned to speak French and Cree.

In 1870, word of the Red River Rebellion had spread, and Sanderson joined the militia group under Charles Boulton and set out to free the men incarcerated by Louis Riel in Upper Fort Garry. He was captured and imprisoned in the Fort for a month before being released.

In 1875 the NWMP established Fort Walsh near the McKay ranch, and Sanderson hired on as scout, hunter and interpreter. By 1877 Sanderson trailed a herd of cattle up from Montana to supply the Fort since the buffalo had all but disappeared.

With the CPR moving in, the McKays and Sandersons moved to Medicine Hat. Sanderson continued working with the NWMP and quickly established himself as an entrepreneur; setting up a bull herd to service ranches in the area as well as a livery stable.

During the late 1880s he hired young men to scour the prairies for the bleached bones of the buffalo, shipping them East for fertilizer. Other successful businesses followed, earning him a comfortable lifestyle.

He became an impassioned writer recounting the true stories of the frontier, and became a strong advocate for the first nation’s people of the area.  James Francis Sanderson, a man of the last frontier.

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