The Luck of Roaring Camp

Introduction

"The Luck of Roaring Camp" is a short story by American author Bret Harte. It was first published in the August 1868 issue of the Overland Monthly and helped push Harte to international prominence.[1]

The story is about the birth of a baby boy in a 19th-century gold prospecting camp. The boy's mother, Cherokee Sal, dies in childbirth, so the men of Roaring Camp must raise it themselves. Believing the child to be a good luck charm, the miners christen the boy Thomas Luck. Afterwards, they decide to refine their behavior and refrain from gambling and fighting. At the end of the story, however, Luck and a villager, Kentuck, perish in a flash flood that strikes the camp.

Roaring Camp was a real place. It was a goldmining settlement on the Mokelumne River in Amador County, California. It was home to forty-niners seeking gold in and around the river; it is now a privately owned tourist attraction.[2] The story's flood theme may have been inspired by California's Great Flood of 1862, which Harte witnessed.


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