Dave ran a lumber mill in western Canada. There are some workers within his organization who he trusts implicitly, some who he doesn’t trust at all, and some who he is unsure about. But Dave is basically a trusting soul. Most of the folks in Malkern liked him, as he had been a major factor in shaping the village and in providing employment for a lot of the folks who lived in the area. Dave was not a pleasant site to look at; ungainly, not very attractive, yet he had a heart that was the antithesis of his lack of physical attractiveness.
Dave was a good friend to Betty, who had promised her hand in marriage to Jim Truscott, who was on leave from Malkern searching for gold in the Yukon territory to secure a future for himself and his bride-to-be. Truscott had asked Dave to watch over Betty during his absence, but when he returned from his fortune seeking expedition in the Yukon, Truscott was a changed man. He didn’t seem the same personable Jim Truscott that Betty had promised herself to, and Dave was a bit suspicious of his personality alterations as well. Now, Betty had to decide whether to hold herself to her promise, and Dave had to determine whether or not he should also keep himself to the promise he had made to his friend.
There is plenty of action, suspense, and personal introspection combined with a love story in The Trail of the Axe, and many a surprise awaits every turn. (Summary by Roger Melin).