Sick Heart River

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Sick Heart River
Sick Heart River 1950.jpg
First edition cover
AuthorJohn Buchan
PublisherHodder & Stoughton[1]
Publication date
Media typePrint

Sick Heart River (1941) is a novel by Scottish author John Buchan set in Canada. It was published posthumously. The book was published in the United States under the title Mountain Meadow.

Plot summary[edit]

Sir Edward Leithen is diagnosed with advanced tuberculosis and given a year to live. While he is deciding how to spend his remaining days, an American associate, John S. Blenkiron, requests help to find his niece's husband, Francis Galliard, who has disappeared from his very successful financial career in New York and fled to Canada.

Leithen follows Galliard to Quebec. During this he finds a mountain meadow he had seen on a trip thirty years earlier and which has stayed in his memory since.

Leithen finds Galliard and nurses him back to health. He then decides to stay with some Indians and help them.[2][3]


Buchan wrote this while Governor General of Canada and Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh. It was published posthumously following his death as a result of a fall and stroke. It is one of Buchan's most spiritual novels, talking about death and redemption.

The fictional Sick Heart River is in the real region of the Nahanni River in Canada's Northwest Territories. The area was only just being mapped when Buchan, as Governor-General Lord Tweedsmuir, passed nearby during his voyage down the Mackenzie River in the summer of 1937. Buchan always wanted to visit the Nahanni but never made it before his death in February 1940.[4]


  1. ^ a b c "British Library Item details". Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  2. ^ "Latest fiction". The Adelaide Advertiser. Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia. 5 July 1941. p. 10.
  3. ^ "Testimony of Faith In Buchan's Last Novel". Brisbane Telegraph. Brisbane, Qld.: National Library of Australia. 2 August 1941. p. 5.
  4. ^ William Galbraith (2001). "Sick heart River". John Buchan Society. Archived from the original on 22 August 2002.

External links[edit]