The Last Great Frontiersman


253 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-7737-2005-7






Rosalie I. Tennison is Editor of Communicator Magazine.


Anyone growing up in northern Manitoba is well acquainted with the name of Lamb. A pioneering family, the Lambs helped develop the north. In his book, Leland Stowe details the achievements of Tom Lamb, a native of The Pas, Manitoba, a bush pilot who founded his own airline, a hunter, trapper, rancher and conservationist.

Tom’s parents opened the first private trading post in Manitoba’s north, rivaling the Hudson’s Bay Company. Tom and his brothers were trained to be tough and resourceful and to survive in the wilderness. Later Tom bought the trading post and he and his wife raised their children in the same manner. Since his death, Tom has become a local hero because of his attempts to make the north a better place to live and because of his daring rescue missions by bush plane.

As a reference in local history, Stowe has provided an account of an amazingly successful pioneer. Using taped interviews and letters, he gives a factual account of Tom’s achievements. Stowe’s journalistic background led him to write the book in this style, providing the reader with fact after fact in concise, medium-length paragraphs. Despite this style he overuses metaphors to the point of tediousness, perhaps in an attempt to make the book more “folksy” and down-to-earth.

As a biography and history, The Last Great Frontiersman is invaluable. It concisely records the life of an ordinary man who did great things. However, a few more word-of-mouth stories would have made the book more meaty. Stowe did not interview Tom’s Indian friends but, instead, bankers and businessmen. The people Tom lived with were missed. A book such as this should be on every shelf in the north, but since these people knew the man, no written record could compare.


Stowe, Leland, “The Last Great Frontiersman,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024,