The King of Mazy May by Jack London

Summary: The King of Mazy May by Jack London is a short story about a young man named Walt Masters who through wise perception, luck and persistence made it to Dawson wth Loren Hall to save Loren Hall's claim


Walt Masters - A 14 year old born in Mazy May Creek with wisdom and manly Yukon survival traits

Loren Hall - An old man with no dogs who traveled slowly

Si Harman - Lost his claim when he went on a moose hunt

George Lukens - Lost his claim because he didn't go to Dawson to record his claim

Black-bearded Stampeder (Leader) - leader of the stampeders; Loren Hall's claim was spotlighted

Irish Stampeder - Assisted the leader especially in the chase for Walt Masters

Section 1:

  • Walt Masters was a boy with a manly "make-up"
  • Walt Masters knew, saw, and experienced other boys would not; playing beneath the northern lights was an example
  • Walt Masters was 14 yrs old and traded with Indian camps
  • Walt Masters was good with bread, hunting moose and driving wild wolf dogs
  • Walt Masters had a good heart like his father
  • Walt Masters and his father "toiled" on the Mazy May and when they made strides in their discoveries of gold, "strange men" came to do some claim jumping
  • Si Hartman and George Lukens lost their claims to claim jumpers
  • When Walt's father went up the White River to prospect quartz, Walt Masters took care of his father's claim plus Loren Hall's claim as well
  • Loren Hall traveled slowly and froze his feet badly; he went to Dawson as a weakened man and Walt was concerned about claim jumpers on Loren's land
  • Walt Masters kept an eye on some strangers that were made to get away quickly if they had to
  • Walt discovered that they were "professional stampeders" who claim jumped
  • The leader had a list of all unrecorded claims on Mazy May that could be acquired from the gold commissioner and Dawson
  • Loren Hall's shaft was taken over by strangers and they began to work for gold
  • The stranger found that the claim had gold and that Loren Hall could be rich if he recorded the find
  • The strange men came to jump Loren Hall's claim
  • Walt Masters knew he had to be a man and take care of Loren Hall's claim but he had no dogs to take him to Dawson for his father had taken their dogs
  • Walt Masters took the dogs that belonged to the stampeders and sped away trying not to think of the consequences if he were to be caught
  • An Irish stampeder tried to get back the sled but failed
  • The Yukon was 8 miles from Walt Masters' claim and the full speed of the sled was not realized because of the way the roads went back and forth
  • The stampeders used shortcuts used by people with backpacks, almost overtook Walt Masters and threatened to shoot at him
  • Walt Masters lost the stampeders and moved on with the dogs while keeping himself warm with a fur robe
  • It was quiet when Walt Masters reached the Yukon
  • Walt Masters felt that he chose the wrong lead dog which led to some issues that slowed the sled
  • It was cold and Walt Masters had to use the "practice of Arctic travelers" to stay warm
  • Walt Masters saw that he was being chased again by the stampeders
  • The impulse of the stampeders chasing him and his poor choice of lead dog allowed the stampeders to get ever closer
  • When both parties arrived at the fifty mile mark away from Dawson, the gap could not be increased or decreased
  • Walt Masters found the right dog for lead but dare not switch them out for the time would allow the stampeders to catch Walt
  • The strangers shot at Walt Masters with a rifle and to prevent himself from injury he traveled from "ice jam" to "ice jam"; he did this from Rosebud Creek
  • The leader of the strangers had a terrible time trying to his Walt Masters with the rifle because he was on a moving sled from 400 yards and then 600 yards
  • The bad leader was shot by the strangers and Walt Masters had to cut half of the dog sled team off from the sled
  • Walt fought off the strangers with his whip and managed to capsize the enemy sled by taking out the "wheel dog"
  • Luck allowed Walt Masters to have the proper lead dog in front of his sled and he dashed away from the strangers
  • Walt Masters left the strangers farther and farther behind as he passed Ainslie's Creek, Monte Cristo Island and Swede Creek where he ran into Loren Hall's camp
  • Loren Hall and Walt Masters made it to the gold commissioner's office in Dawson and it was then that Walt finally fell asleep
  • The "men of the Yukon" were proud of Walt and from then on refered to him as "the King of Mazy May" because of what he did that night

Other Notes:

  • This story shows how much one had to pay attention to save their unregistered claims and how fast Walt had to grow to be a man in the face of the sometimes harsh environment of the Yukon
  • Walt Masters' accomplishment in this story would be challenging even for a man twice his age
  • It was right for the "men of the Yukon" to call him "the King of Mazy May" because of his heroism
  • Jack London was inspired to write this story by another story in his first-hand visit to northwest Canada

© 2009 copyright The King of Mazy May | Jack London