Leaving his North Carolina home, across the country went John Rucker, first living in Montana, then Alaska. He went in search of his "fair share of life's bounty," and to lear the lessons that only a life close to Nature could teach him. Rucker's fourteen year journey takes him to unlikely places: to a lonesome cattle ranch on the Montana plains; to a boxing ring in Havre, Montana; to near-death encounters on wilderness waters; to a remote, well-named Alaskan fishing region called Melancholy Bay; and finally, back home to North Carolina for a most conclusive ending to his "apprenticeship years." Through it all, Rucker has only one constant companion: a springer spaniel named Barney. The Barney Years is the story of their unforgettable partnership.