In 1926, Aileen Gallaher, a beautiful young woman, runs away from her difficult life in California, traveling alone by train to Seattle, then by steamship to Valdez, Alaska, where she is met by trappe
In 1926, Aileen Gallaher, a beautiful young woman, runs away from her difficult life in California, traveling alone by train to Seattle, then by steamship to Valdez, Alaska, where she is met by trapper Clyde C. "Slim" Williams, and travels deep into the Copper River Valley. There, Aileen finds an even more difficult life. Slim Williams had stayed behind after the Klondike gold rush was over, living off the land. Although she is half his age, Aileen finds happiness in their raw existence spent in isolated cabins, facing the unrelenting challenges of wilderness survival. The fierce cold is worse than Aileen ever imagined, but she comes to love Slim and the wild Copper River country. The only thing missing is female companionship. Enter Samme, Aileen's irrepressible teenage sister. This sibling memoir reveals their emotional coming of age in a remote region even by Alaska standards. Yet, the sisters live a charmed life, and come to love a wolf from the wild. Samme Gallaher was 92 and living in Thousand Oaks, California when Sisters was published. Aileen Gallaher died just short of her 89th birthday in 1994.
View Biographical note
Samme Gallaher was the 3rd and youngest daughter of Blanche Gillham Gallaher and Samuel LeRoy Gallaher (usually known as Roy), who settled in Fresno, CA when Samme was still a baby. A hugely defining event in her life occurred at age 15, when her oldest sister, Aileen, asked their parents to let Samme come live in Alaska with her and her husband, Slim Williams, in a cabin in the Copper River Valley. There she learned to drive a dog team, shoot a rifle and hunt caribou, and many other skills required to live in the wilderness year round. Her book, Sisters: Coming of Age and Living Dangerously in the Copper River Valley, tells the story of her adventures in Alaska in 1927-28 and again when she returned in 1929-30.