Perry A. Burgess was many things: Diarist. Pioneer. Prospector. Banker. Investor. Inventor...the list is long and varied. His name appears in numerous historical works published since the 1950s, yet much of his story has never been told.
In 1866 he traveled to Montana with his uncles and 300 head of cattle up the 'Bloody Bozeman Trail' during Sioux Chief Red Cloud's War. A pioneer of Colorado and one of the earliest settlers of Steamboat Springs, Burgess was a longtime friend and partner of some of the wealthiest businessmen in the nineteenth-century American West. Amongst them, his uncle Lewis Cheney was one of the richest men in Boulder, Colorado. Together they developed the city's banking system while contributing to its cultural and social heritage.
Raised Mormon, as boys they fell victim to rampant persecution. Perry's grandfather led some of the first wagons on the Mormon Trail to Utah, and his own father died during the exodus. For Burgess, those early years of a nomadic existence would leave their mark and nurture in him a thirst for adventure, influencing his path to the end of his life.
Using Perry's diaries, family photographs, and newly discovered personal essays published in the Steamboat Pilot as their focus, Rebecca Valentine and Travis Thompson piece together the life of a remarkable man, whose adventurous spirit was matched only by his willingness to risk all for the unknown.
Beyond the Land of Gold provides an integral and heretofore missing piece of the history of the American Western Frontier and a snapshot into the life of one of its most intriguing characters.