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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 59 / 185

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Timescape: History Plays and Isolation

53

can’t expect a man to come halfway around the world and settle for sod walls.” His

escape from the farm places Alec squarely into another hair-brained-get-rich-quick-

Utopia-seeking-quest. This time, the pipe dream is based upon cattle prices in the

Yukon.

Alec’s buddy Sam has learned nothing about false reports, either. Sam still

believes fantastic reports from the Yukon that “there’s gold up there just waiting to be

picked up. Nuggets as big as yer thumb!” Alec admonishes Sam for being gullible,

saying, “They blow up those stories something awful.” But Alec does fall hook, line, and

sinker for reports of inflated cattle prices in the Yukon. Alec and his buddy Sam come up

with a scheme to drive cattle up to supply the gold rush. After a horribly grueling cattle

drive, Alec and friends find out that cattle prices are not nearly as high as reported in the

south. They barely get enough money to cover their costs. Alec writes to Jesse that he

cannot return home until spring.

Alec has failed to make his easy fortune, but he has avoided a winter alone with

his wife in the sod shack. Jessie, however, suffers a terrible loneliness. Alec’s thirst for

adventure is often associated with his fidelity to Jessie. When Alec frets that he didn’t go

to South Africa and become a wealthy owner of many diamond mines, Jessie replies,

“That’s you all right. Ready to chase anything new.” When Sam tries to entice Alec into

the Yukon cattle-driving scheme, he calls the planned adventure “a fling at Yukon.” Alec

replies, “I just can’t up and leave my wife!” But Sam has an answer to ease Alec’s

conscience, saying, “so don’t run out. You can always come back.” Alec had planned on

being gone for a month or two. At the end of the play, Jessie realizes that Alec will never

be satisfied by staying at home and living the settler’s life. Alec is a dreamer and a

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