The Harder They Come by T. C. Boyle:
John Colter was twenty-nine, four years older than he was now, when he signed on with Lewis and Clark for the expedition to explore the Louisiana Purchase and open up the west. He’d been raised on the frontier in Kentucky, a wild place back then, more comfortable sleeping rough than in his own bed in the cabin he shared with his parents and his brothers and sisters and one uncle and his uncle’s wife, and if the other farmers’ sons were content to walk behind a plow, he wasn’t. He was a free agent from the earliest age, earning his keep by way of hunting, fishing and trapping, and in no need of a trail to carry him out or bring him home again either. As a child, he took to disappearing for days at a time, and then, as he got older and ran through his teens, for weeks, and no matter how far he roamed or in what territory, he was never lost, born with an uncanny ability to orient himself no matter where he was. He was like an animal in that regard, like a fox—or better yet, a wolf, an outlier with his nose to the wind.