I have only one recommendation for you, Oldbrasscat, and that is: Tough Trip Through Paradise by Andrew Garcia. It is an autobiography of one year in the life of a young man who decides to become a mountain man in Montana circa 1879. It covers his first year up through the death of his first of three Native American wives. A fascinating read by a gentleman who not only lived the tale but knew how to tell about it in a way that brought his story to life and made every detail interesting, exploring his own role among the Native Americans and trappers and his own struggles in dealing with the angel sitting on his right shoulder and the devil perched on his left.

I would give anything to be able to turn a phrase the way this gentleman was able to. The best damn western I have ever read, and even more so because it was a true account written by the man who lived it.