A River Runs Through It Pages 29-55 Summary & Analysis

Norman MacLean

A River Runs Through It

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A River Runs Through It Pages 29-55 Summary & Analysis

Pages 29 – 55 Summary

Norman and his family greet Neal, another prodigal Scottish son, at the train station. He lives on the West coast. The first night when Neal tries to sneak out of the house to go drinking, Norman accompanies him to a local bar. There they meet up with two of the bar’s summertime regulars: Long Bow, a Native American sheepherder and sharpshooter, and Old Rawhide, an ex-rodeo trick rider and prostitute.

Neal regales the company with lies about his hunting and trapping prowess. He buys drinks for everyone, and as Norman leaves, Old Rawhide is moving in on Neal. Norman reminds Neal that they are going fishing in the morning.

The next morning, Neal is still in bed when Paul arrives to go fishing. Paul tells Florence, Neal’s mother, to get him up despite his hangover. Florence, Jessie, Kenny—Jessie’s brother, and Dorothy—Kenny’s wife, load up Kenny’s truck for a family picnic and fishing trip on the Elkhorn river. Jessie instructs Norman not to leave Neal behind. However, Neal sets himself up with a can of worms and doesn’t want to try fly fishing with Norman.

As he fishes for small trout, Norman muses about whether or not he will try to talk to his brother today about the events of the other night, and about lending him money. Soon, Norman tires of easily caught small trout, and he turns his mind to the big fish that are to be found in another part of the Elkhorn.

Norman details the specifics of the water where he thinks the fish are, and different casting techniques. He manages to cast perfectly into the willow bushes where he catches a large fish that gets free by jumping into a bush. Paul sees this and offers Norman advice on how to catch the large brown trout. Excited by the prospect of catching a large fish, Norman asks Paul if he can help him with money. Paul ignores him, but attempts to thank him by saying that they need to go find Neal; that they should help Neal by taking him fishing with them.

Norman understands that…

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