Bridge House Books Catalog

The California Gold Trilogy

Naida West’s California Gold Trilogy

“Each book of my trilogy tells a forgotten story about real people and events in central California. Each one can be enjoyed without reading the others, though history buffs insist they must be read in sequence. The spirit of a native woman lodged in an oak tree narrates all of them, and each one has substantial endnotes. They are required or recommended in college classes across the US and UK, but my dearest fans come from all walks of life and all age groups, except for young children for whom some scenes are inappropriate.

“Inspiration for the trilogy came from the land and artifacts I found beneath my feet. Here I feel the spirits of those who walked before me — including young Elitha Donner of the Donner Party; I encountered the clay floor of her adobe cabin in my garden a few steps from my door. A name mix-up had left her out of history. I’m sure you’ll agree that her amazing story needed to be told (see River of Red Gold and parts of Rest for the Wicked).”

— Naida West

Purchase all three volumes (Eye of the Bear, River of Red Gold, and Rest for the Wicked) in a box set. The slipcase may also be purchased individually for only $2.50 with purchase of 1 or more books.

California Gold Trilogy box set
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Eye of the Bear

Eye of the Bear

Book 1, California Gold Trilogy – 1825-1829
by Naida West

Grizzly Hair leads a combined force of formerly peaceful native peoples in a fight for freedom from the missions. With bows and arrows they defeat the Mexican military equipped with cannon and muskets. Real people include native leader Estanislao (after whom the Stanislaus River was named), Padre Narciso Duran of Mission San Jose, Mariano Vallejo, Jedediah Smith, Russians from Fort Ross, and more.

“A wonderful blending of dramatic history and insightful imagination. West is a scholar who can write popular fiction. Not many scholars can do that.” — Richard Etulain, founder of Center for the American West, University of New Mexico

River of Red Gold

River of Red Gold

Book 2, California Gold Trilogy – 1844-1853
by Naida West

New, 2013 updated edition. The fates of young Indian Mary, 14-year-old Elitha Donner of the Donner Party, and vaquero-soldier Pedro Valdez entwine in a drama of passion and power. Set on the site of the ranch now owned by the author.

“I was so completely engrossed in this story that I had dreams about it each night as I was reading it.” — Kelalea, Amazon reviewer

Rest for the Wicked

Rest for the Wicked

Winner in the Historical Fiction category of the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards

Book 3, California Gold Trilogy – 1893-1910
by Naida West

This final novel in the California Gold trilogy carries forward the family sagas of the native people and the first settlers, while introducing fictional Mae Duffy, 16. Mae breaks free of Sacramento’s urban underworld and corrupted government, where girls are political favors, and learns about life from two old women: Ah Sen and Indian Mary. She also finds love with Mary’s son Billy McCoon, the last man of the People — until her past comes to haunt them. An action-packed romp through Victorian times.

This sweeping, turn-of-the-century epic is at times terrifying, and yet intimate and deeply satisfying. 1893-1910, with epilog beyond.

“Another page-turner . . . keeps us reading as the midnight oil burns!” — Nancy Bibby Reviews

Murder on the Middle Fork

Murder on the Middle Fork

by Don Ian Smith and Naida West

Based on a true-life murder. Frieda is isolated in a wilderness with a husband who hunts more than big game. Set in 1917 along the Salmon River in Idaho’s River of No Return Wilderness.

“Murder on the Middle Fork is not for the faint of heart, but this little book is a wonderful and bittersweet read.” — Midwest Book Review

Symon's Daughter

Symon’s Daughter: A Memoir of Elizabeth Symon Smith

by Don Ian Smith

The spunky daughter of a Scottish Presbyterian minister immigrates to Utah, keeps her father’s faith and her sense of humor while teaching school and mothering six children during the Great Depression. 1887-1905 in Scotland. 1905-1976 in Utah and Idaho.

“I couldn’t get my nose out of that book! I read it during every break I got from work. I especially loved thinking about the way people did things, the way they lived, and the issues they were involved in.” — A typical reader

From Hell to Jackson Hole

From Hell to Jackson Hole: A Poetic History of the American West

by Michael L. Johnson

Award-winning coffee table book illustrated with full-color western artwork. Condensed biographies and delightful tidbits spanning the entire West, from the Conquistadores to John Wayne. Art includes works by Georgia O’Keefe, Charles Russell, Albert Bierstadt, James Earle Frazer, and more.

“Highlights on every damn page . . . You’ll find yourself quoting it to friends.” — James C. Work, Editor, Prose and Poetry of the American West