High in the Tobacco Root Mountains of southwestern Montana, Steve and Gale Gough built their “dream home” overlooking the renowned trout waters of the Madison River as it flows inexorably towards its meeting with the Jefferson and Gallatin to form the mighty Missouri at the fabled Three Forks, the site of John Colter’s run.

A Virginian by birth, roots and heritage, the author was raised in San Francisco, California by a transplanted Irish family from the notorious mining town of Butte, Montana and by a loving father who never forgot where he’d come from nor his Virginia family who still look back with pride upon generations of forebears from the early days of colonial Jamestown, to the rough-hewn frontier life of eking out an existence dirt farming by the Slate River in Buckingham County, to the storied campaigns of the Army of Northern Virginia with the 57th Virginia Infantry and Sgt. John A. Gough, his great grandpa.

As a young United States Marine in 1966-67, a 45-caliber pistol on his web belt and packing a PRC-25 on his back as a member of an “arty” forward observer team attached to Delta Company (affectionately referred to by its members as “Dying Delta”), 1st Battalion, 26th Marines, at Khe Sahn, the Republic of South Vietnam, Gough “humped” his fill of hills and swollen rivers, long sleepless and watchful nights, endured monsoon rains, hunger, thirst, fear, angst, terror... and sorrow.

All this indelibly etched in his mind and spirit the realization of what it means to have lived a warrior's life. Of this he said, “All this occurred in the fine company of my fellow Marines without my ever comprehending the impact this experience would one day engender for me, a feeling of kinship and admiration, even a fellow-warrior camaraderie, if you will, to the adventures and legacy of a fellow Virginian, John Colter, and compel me to write and bring to life his story, albeit through historical fiction.”