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Posted: May 8, 2022

A look into the glories of our mountain life

Book Review

By Derryll White

Dilts, Dennis and Frank McIntyre (2015).  A Promise That Bears Honour.

“You must not only aim right but draw the bow with all your might.” – Henry David Thoreau

Dennis Dilts and Frank McIntyre are both South Country men – ranchers, guides and rodeo cowboys.  They come from a rural culture that nurtures families, community and an ever-present sense of nature and the outdoors.  The endorsement on the back cover by Betty Sinclair rings true – these authors understand and belong to the South Country.

This novel is set in the Whiteswan Lake/White River area near Canal Flats.  The authors clearly love the wild country of that region.  The book offers an excellent account of a guide/outfitter’s life, including windows into some of the clients that use the guiding services.  For anyone who has fished the White River and its tributaries – eat your heart out.

Grizzly bears are front and centre in the story, both as characters and as icons of the unbelievable freedom of the high back country.  For anyone who has grown up in East Kootenay or is a long-time resident, ‘A Promise That Bears Honour” will take you out of winter and into the glories of our mountain life.


Excerpts from the novel:

SECRET STILL – “It’s sure a pretty hide,” said Willie.  “A fella should skin it out.”

“Have you lost your mind?” retorted Matthew.  “Now that’s the last damn thing we need is for some up and coming, tryin’-to-make-a-name for himself, wanna be Game Warden to come snooping around and askin’ questions, like, ‘why you’ve got an out of season grizzly bear hide in your possession and don’t even own a hunting license.’  For God’s sake man use your head!  We gotta stay low profile, Willie!  In case you’ve forgotten, or it somehow slipped your mind, we’re not exactly selling a bona fide, legal product here.  I say, let the damned ol’ bear rot where she lays.’

BEAR ATTACK – Before he had a chance to say anything, the big sow charged with a will to destroy.  Buddy feigned and ducked the charge and tried to outrun her to the lodge.  He made it to within about 100 yards when the golden man killer pounced and drove her teeth into the calf of his leg.  She halted his flight and began ripping his leg apart wither deadly teeth.  Bobby screamed in intolerable pain.  Colleen and West both heard the scream at the same time.  Colleen shrieked as she saw the attack take place, looking out the window.  West snatched his rifle off the elk horns as he flew out the door.  Mary had bashed and tattered poor old Billy’s body like he was a rag.  While Bobby persistently kept trying to get away  West jumped off the porch and took aim at the monster that was killing his son.  Big Mary n ow hopped up astraddle of Bobby and was looking him right in the face.  She looked up at West just an instant before she raised her paw and with one mighty swipe ripped Bobby’s scalp and all the skin and flesh off one side of his head and face, clear down to the bone.

– Derryll White once wrote books but now chooses to read and write about them.  When not reading he writes history for the web at

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