Author Rex Beach was well on his way to becoming a lawyer when he was hit by Gold Rush Fever and left for the Klondike to strike it rich.
His novel The Spoilers was based on a true story of corrupt government officials stealing gold mines from prospectors, which he witnessed first-hand while prospecting in Nome, Alaska.
Beach perfectly captures the excitement of the raw saga of Alaska in its 1898 gold rush days, complete with claim-jumping, corruption, deception, villains, and heroes, crooked lawyers, politicians, and judges who stole the claims of legitimate miners already extracting fortunes from the gold fields.
Young prospector Roy Glenister and his partner, Dextry, are headed back to Nome on the first ship of the season, eager to return to protect their gold claim— “The Midas", which promises to produce huge amounts of the precious metal.
On the trip, they defend a young woman from baddies, also intent on reaching Nome as soon as possible.
Glenister immediately begins to fall for the young beauty, Helen Chester, niece of Judge Arthur Chester, recently appointed as the first federal judge for the Alaska Territory.
The Judge is actually in league with the corrupt politician Alexander McNamara.
After reaching Nome, McNamara succeeds in being appointed receiver of the most lucrative mining claims in the region, based on fraudulent disputes over the validity of the miners' claims.
Glenister and Dextry are cheated out of their lands.
Once the miners realize that they are the victims of a plot to steal their claims, they organize as vigilantes to take them back by force.
REX BEACH (1877–1949) was an American novelist and playwright. His adventure novels, influenced by Jack London, were immensely popular. Beach produced numerous novels, set variously in the Yukon, Panama, Florida, and the Texas oil fields. Besides The Spoilers, three other novels were among the year’s top-10 bestsellers: The Barrier (1908), The Silver Horde (1909), and The Net (1912).