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Billy to California or Bust!

Walter E. Wood (Author)

ISBN: 0-7414-2574-2 ©2005
Price: $13.95
Book Size: 5.5'' x 8.5'' , 137 pages
Category/Subject: FICTION / Historical

In 1850, Billy Costello, an orphan lad of 18, joins a wagon-train heading for the riches of California. The many rousing adventures bring Billy into the real world!

In 1849, pioneers trekked to California seeking their fortunes in the newly-discovered gold fields. These were the original Forty-Niners. For years afterward, they were followed by thousands of people expecting to get rich in this newly-created state.

Billy Costello, an 18-year-old orphan boy, was one of those who got underway in 1850. He joined a wagon-train to serve as an outrider, guide, hunter, and all-around assistant to the wagon-master. His strong muscles helped wagons ford rivers and move along mountain trails.

When they reached Hangtown and Sacramento after the grueling trip, he was ready to seek his fortune.

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Customer Reviews

  A good yarn about the old West , 09/21/2005
Reviewer: Pearl Nancarrow
History comes alive in this well-researched tale of a young man heading West. Billy becomes part of the vanguard of all that is western when he signs on to help lead a wagon train from Missouri to the gold fields of California. This gem of a story is historically accurate from the wagons and their contents, the place names along the way, to the names of some of the people involved. The story wends its way from adventure to hardship, from pride of achievement, the thrill of new life and to the heartbreak of death along the trail. Billy not only grows up on this trek, he gains wisdom and matures into responsible adulthood. Walter Wood spins a "good yarn", in that a young reader can also learn a great deal about the movement west,and the 1870s in general. As a former teacher, I'd recommend this book for children from grade 3 on up through middle school.

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  A "must read" adventure story , 04/20/2006
Reviewer: Lesley Lee
A story that had me captivated, such a refreshing story about a young boy, Billy, and his adventures whilst crossing by wagon train from Missouri to California. Set in an age of innocence, in a time and era when truth, honesty, fair play and a concern for others' well being were the standard of the day. There is a lot to be learned from this book and I would recommend it to all young readers.

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  Be a Part of the Gold Rush , 04/06/2007
Reviewer: Roger Turner
If you've ever dreamed or wondered about what it must have been like to travel cross-country to California in the days of the gold-rush, you will enjoy – and learn from this book. The story is filled with bits of history, some of the heartbreaks and lessons of life, and the challenges and dangers of travel in a covered wagon - with a feel of the huge achievement of crossing the vast west. The story is flowing with human interest, offering young readers the opportunity to identify with Billy’s experiences.

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