The McLaughlins, who lived right at Dunvegan , were asked by phone if they could find some way to get Jack to a doctor. They could , and did.
Cecil and Jim McLaughlin decided that it would take eight horses to break trail with a caboose and even that number of horses should not be expected to make the full twenty-mile trip to Fairview where the doctor lived.
Frank McLaughlin, brother to Cecil and Jim, was staying at a farm about ten miles from Fairview where he had been doing some custom hauling with an eight-horse team. Cecil and Jim phoned him explaining Jack’s condition and asked him to get his outfit of horses fed and harnessed and be ready to hook onto the caboose when they got to the farm where he was staying. Frank, like all the McLaughlins, was a good neighbour and readily agreed. Cecil and Jim hitched their eight horses to the caboose and started on their mercy mission.
A caboose, for the information of those who don’t remember pioneering, was a small house built of light lumber and set on a sleigh. It had a small heating stove in it to keep the occupants warm and there was a window in front for the driver to see through. This window had slits under it for the reins that guided the horses. Cabooses were used to take farm families on trips in the winter. When the roads were good two horses could pull a caboose at a trot.
On the afternoon that Cecil and his teen-aged brother Jim started on their mercy mission, the snow was up to the horses’ bellies. It was, of course, impossible to drive eight horses hitched in four two-horse teams from inside the caboose so the two men took turns driving and getting warm and keeping the sick man as comfortable as possible. The driver sat on top of the caboose where he could see the horses and the trail better and the men changed places every half-hour. In spite of the number of horses in the team they had to rest occasionally. The snow in some places was up to the leader’s collar. The McLaughlins were good teamsters though and they got the sick man over the trail as fast as horse flesh could travel under those conditions.
They finally arrived at the farm where their brother Frank was waiting with an outfit of fresh horses to finish the trip to Fairview. Jim was left at the farm to take care of the tired team while Frank and Cecil continued on with the outfit of fresh horses and took turns driving and caring for the sick man till they got to Fairview. Jack Miller got the medical attention he required and returned to his farm at Dunvegan until his death eight or nine years later.
Cecil McLaughlin was killed at Dieppe and Frank died a few months after he returned from overseas duty in World War II. Jim now operates a small store in a neighboring town near Grande Prairie.