The men had arrived to Canada weeks ago and were staying in Montreal before the Canadian government allowed them to head west to the prairies to claim their stake of farmland. Then finally after weeks of waiting they had been told that they were going west. The Ukrainian men grabbed their limited belongings and piled into cattle cars by the hundreds. Once the go ahead signal was given, the train was off.
One of the men on these trains was named Bogdan Ruptash who had arrived to Canada hoping for a better future, but since the day he had arrived it had been nothing but misery. The only thing that had kept him going was the company of the other Ukrainian men and the burning desire not to fail and let down his family. But he knew that soon, when they arrived to this place called Edmonton, that he would be separated from all of his friends and would have to brave things on his own.
It was late November and the Canadian prairie winter was on its way. Bogdan had heard rumors about how much colder the winters were on the prairies than it was out in eastern Canada.
As Bogdan rode in the train he noticed that almost all of the men had stopped talking and the only sign of communication was the uncertain and terrified glances that the men gave each other. The time passed slowly as the men had ridden the train for about a day. All Bogdan had seen as he looked through the steel partitions in the cattle car was nothing more than the bleak expanse of the Canadian Prairies and a couple of towns and a city called Winnipeg. The men could feel the temperature drop inside the cattle car as their bodies grew numb. The men had not eaten anything in two days and cattle car reeked as the washroom facilities were nothing more than a couple of buckets on the floor.
Hours later it was dark again and the train began to slow and soon came to a complete stop. Bogdan looked out into the night and he could see no lights. The train had stopped for some unknown reason. Terror gripped him as the side door of the cattle car opened and several police officers with guns telling a man to get out. One at a time the men jumped off the train into the night as it made stop after stop at random intervals. Bogdan was sure this was going to be the end of his life likely by execution. A tear ran down his face as he awaited his fate. When it was his turn he hopped off the train and waited. He could hear the police officers close the gates of the cattle car and reboard the train. The train then started up and soon it was gone and he was left to his own in the abyss of the prairies.
It was pitch black with no moon and the cold temperature was freezing his skin raw. He was all alone as he walked along the railroad track trying to figure out where he was and where he was going. A couple of trains passed in the night but they would not see him let alone help him. He wandered off the track looking for something to eat. The night for Bogdan never seemed to end and it was like he was wandering through a desert of blackness. His body was nearly frozen as he lay down from exhaustion. He decided to take a quick nap.
Bogdan never woke up.