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đź“™ Pilgrim's Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier by Tom Kizzia, narrator Fred Sanders


Into the Wild meets Helter Skelter in this riveting true story of a modern-day homesteading family in the deepest reaches of the Alaskan wilderness - and of the chilling secrets of its maniacal, spellbinding patriarch. When Papa Pilgrim appeared in the Alaska frontier outpost of McCarthy with his wife and fifteen children in tow, his new neighbors had little idea of the trouble to come. The Pilgrim Family presented themselves as a shining example of the homespun Christian ideal, with their proud piety and beautiful old-timey music, but their true story ran dark and deep. Within weeks, Papa had bulldozed a road through the mountains to the new family home at an abandoned copper mine, sparking a tense confrontation with the National Park Service and forcing his ghost town neighbors to take sides in an ever-more volatile battle over where a citizen’s rights end and the government’s power begins. In Pilgrim’s Wilderness, veteran Alaska journalist Tom Kizzia unfolds the remarkable, at times harrowing, story of a charismatic spinner of American myths who was not what he seemed, the townspeople caught in his thrall, and the family he brought to the brink of ruin. As Kizzia discovered, Papa Pilgrim was in fact the son of a rich Texas family with ties to Hoover’s FBI and strange, oblique connections to the Kennedy assassination and the movie stars of Easy Rider. And as his fight with the government in Alaska grew more intense, the turmoil in his brood made it increasingly difficult to tell whether his children were messianic followers or hostages in desperate need of rescue. In this powerful piece of Americana, written with uncommon grace and high drama, Kizzia uses his unparalleled access to capture an era-defining clash between environmentalists and pioneers ignited by a mesmerizing sociopath who held a town and a family captive. ©2013 Tom Kizzia (P)2013 Random House Audio

About book:



"bewildering wilderness family"

Would you listen to Pilgrim's Wilderness again? Why?

"Not the story I thought"

I overall score this book a 2, not because of the writing, as it was we written but because I thought it was a book about an Alaska wilderness homesteading story. The book is actually about a horrific family abuse story. A nod to the author for his dedication to this families tale. It needed to be told.

"Crazy book about a crazy family"

Very good listen. An intriguing story artfully told. If you like learning about the odd balls at the edge of society you'll certainly enjoy this book.

"Can't beat real life......"

If you could sum up Pilgrim's Wilderness in three words, what would they be?

"Like the TV series!"

Compliment to Edge of Alaska history channel series. Fills in many missing facts and completes some story lines that are left open. Very good reader too!


Disturbing and unforgettable. This is a must read for those of you that like nonfiction.

"shocking true story

gripping story! well narrated. will long remember this story! truth is always better than fiction.

"Good story, enjoyed it"

Sad story, hopeful ending. Prayers for the family. Enjoyed it very much. Kind of heard to follow. Pilgrim's Progress references were great. Thank you

"Good listen"

Interesting true story- also enjoyed the back drop of Alaska- definitely worth the time. People are never sure how to confront crazy.

"Really Amazing Story Well Written and Read"

Great storytelling. Completely understand "both sides" in the Pilgrim controversy. Seem to be some missing McCarthy characters in here, though. Again.

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