Review by Frank Plowright
Central to the mythos of Uncle Scrooge even before Don Rosa began codifying matters, was the period he spent mining his claim for gold in the Yukon. It was the foundation of his vast wealth, and when presented with the choice he sacrificed the love of a good woman for riches. Scrooge’s period in the Yukon was one of the very few occasions that Barks actually produced story material with a prolonged flashback (‘Back to the Klondike’).
Despite Scrooge’s Alaskan experiences being relatively well documented, Don Rosa still manages to weave a compelling story around him finding the goose egg nugget that defined the remainder of his life. This is no rapid, random good fortune. Rosa conveys the effort and toil and danger required before Scrooge strikes it rich, and as Barks never supplied the specific circumstances of Scrooge finding a massive gold nugget, Rosa does. It’s in an excellent manner typical of his offbeat plotting.
This selection also contains the weakest chapter, although that’s only relative to the overall quality, with Scrooge in Australia. It’s a whimsical piece that ties in allegorical interpretation of Scrooge’s future with the Aboriginal dreamtime. Beyond that, though, it doesn’t really add to the overall theme of Scrooge learning lessons shaping the man he’ll become, although he does resist the temptation of easy riches.
There’s more of that man in the final chapter. Rosa’s notes remark on the Yukon story presenting the peak of Scrooge’s positive development, and once wealthy he develops a mistrust of others, assessing everyone in terms of how likely they are to want what he has. There’s an outburst when he returns to Dismal Downs in Scotland that points to the future, along with a lot of good gags as the attitude of the locals changes, and he takes part in the highland games. We also see him purchase the red jacket in which he’s commonly been seen ever since.
It’s largely a touching and good natured visit back to Scotland, and the final time Scrooge’s homeland is seen in the series. As such, Rosa drops in an excellently conceived conclusion, and there’s also a larger part for his sisters, one being Donald Duck’s mother Hortense.
The following volume of this serialisation picks up shortly after this conclusion, as Scrooge settles in Duckburg in 1902 to 1947. Those who’d prefer can find the entire saga available as a more traditional sized graphic novel both in paperback and hardback. These Gladstone editions are now harder to find, but have the bonus of presenting Rosa’s art on a considerably larger scale.