Frank Willoughby looked out north up toward Whitefish. From Kalispell to Whitefish was about fifteen miles. Willoughby owned much of the best part of what he could see, the rich alluvial land that sloped down to the river, a flat plain tucked in between an improbable fertile slit in the Rocky Mountains. The land was suitable enough for good grass and wheat to grow, and in the winter Willoughby’s cattle were protected from the high snows blowing across the ridgetops. He had ninety-eight thousand acres, and more up beyond Eureka, near the Canadian border. Up there, on Silver Lake, he had a hunting cabin.

That’s where his teenage grandsons, Jamie and Arthur, were headed, on Route 93, their pickup pulling a double horse trailer on the two-lane road. In half an hour they would get to Silver Lake, and in half an hour more to the cabin, and from there they would ride the horses up to the head of Silver River to fish for the brown trout that attracted fly fishermen from all over the world.

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