Author Topic: Tom Brown Jr and "Stalking Wolf"  (Read 99016 times)

Offline debbieredbear

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Re: Tom Brown jr/Stalking Wolf
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2010, 02:09:44 am »
but I do find it hard to believe that a member of the Mongols is a cook at a primitive skills school! Most of the Mongols, Hells Angels, Outlaws, etc. make their living off of drugs, prostitution, etc.

Oh really? And how many bikers do you know? Or did you just read Hunter Thompson's book? Some bikers are thugs. Some are not. And I AM talking about Hells Angels etc.

Offline seeker108

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Re: Tom Brown jr/Stalking Wolf
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2010, 03:17:49 am »
Never read Hunter Thompson's Book. And I do know several bikers. Some of them are very good people-- as you mentioned-- but there is a difference between riding with these clubs and being a hardcore member. The inner circle of these groups seldom work outside of the gang. Organized crime IS the primary reason for the Angels, Mongols, etc. existence. Read Sonny Barger's book. You also need to look at what ntvwndr was trying to imply with his/her post. Jorge Brana being a member of the Mongols was not included to confer a good image of Brown or his school. The intent was to imply that Brown, Brana, etc. were all associated with the mafia, bikers, etc. and other "unsavory" elements of society.
Stating that Brana was a member of the Mongols was included in the same sentence as mentioning that Brown "hinted at" having mafia associations to establish criminal connections for both of them. ntvwndr was NOT trying to establish that Brana was "good people".
 As I said in my original post-- Brown may be a con man and his whole story may be a fabrication. I'm not trying to defend him. I just don't think it serves any purpose to make the same knid of unsubstantiated claims as he is accused of and expect to have much credibility.   

Offline nmtm

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Re: Tom Brown jr/Stalking Wolf
« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2010, 12:29:28 pm »
From an earlier posting:

"Stalking Wolf and his grandson Rick were proven to have never existed by a Alibamu-Kosati writer and researcher for NAIDV named Sondra Ball.
Peace- Rich Joseph"

I am also interested in reading this article, but had no luck locating it online.  Does anyone have a link, or a copy to post in this forum?

Offline NanticokePiney

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Re: Tom Brown jr/Stalking Wolf
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2010, 06:43:21 pm »
From an earlier posting:

"Stalking Wolf and his grandson Rick were proven to have never existed by a Alibamu-Kosati writer and researcher for NAIDV named Sondra Ball.
Peace- Rich Joseph"

I am also interested in reading this article, but had no luck locating it online.  Does anyone have a link, or a copy to post in this forum?

 There is no link or document. You have to contact her through the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (Quaker) Indian Committee.
 mIt's rather oblivious though. I grew up in Chatsworth, the Next town over, have friends and relatives in Toms River and nobody seems to remember Rick or Stalking Wolf and Tom nver seems to remember Rick's last name. Also all the legit trackers and guides all worked out of the Pine Barren Stove Company on Rt. 72. Nobody there knows Tom, Rick or Stalking Wolf.

Offline tahcha_sapa

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Re: Tom Brown jr/Stalking Wolf
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2010, 04:46:55 am »
Michael Stalking Wolf is Lakota, BTW. Don't see anything of his related to Brown's claims.
The person at that particular website who uses that name is not Lakhota. In fact, he was banned from an online Lakhota language group in 2002 after he first claimed to be an Oglala, then later denied he ever made that claim.  He also tried to run a scam on the group.  Apparently, he forgot that there were a few legitimate Lakhota members in that group.  Lakhota people have been scammed so many times that they can smell one coming down the trail.  But it all started to fall apart for Michael Stalking Wolf when he tried to play out an elaborate online romance -- his engagement to a woman, "Sky" -- that ended in online tragedy: She died of an aneurism in South Dakota prior to their "marriage."
He cried out, in the online way, to his pal "Chuck Two Fingers" (actually, Chuck Benson, who has been outted in NAFPS as another non-Lakhota fraud -- and, incidentally, still has a Lakhota language group on Yahoo Groups) who, too, was a member of that particular group -- to come and pray with Michael and do a Wiping of the Tears Ceremony.
The Lakhota members of that group checked with each other, checked obituaries: no one on the reservations, or anywhere near where "Sky" had "died" turned up. No one. No dead Sky.
Michael Stalking Wolf was confronted about this claim and, especially, his claim to be an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux tribe.  When he was reminded that it is a crime to sell arts and crafts and claim that they are made by an enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe, when, in fact, that person is not, he denied he ever claimed to an enrolled member of the Oglala tribe.  But, his claim to be an enrolled member of the Oglala tribe and his later claim to not be an enrolled member of the Oglala tribe are both in the records of that group.
If he truly were an enrolled member of ANY tribe, it would be to his advantage to declare this on his business site, wouldn't it?  It seems like he would at least post the below information as a reminder to non-Lakhota frauds about the penalties they face:

"Native American Arts and Crafts Law, Public Law 101-644

The Indian Arts and Crafts Law
Public Law 101-644

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 give a recap (below) and also provides links to the actual Act.

The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-644) is a truth-in-advertising law that prohibits misrepresentation in marketing of Indian arts and crafts products within the United States. It is illegal to offer or display for sale, or sell any art or craft product in a manner that falsely suggests it is Indian produced, an Indian product, or the product of a particular Indian or Indian Tribe or Indian arts and crafts organization, resident within the United States. For a first time violation of the Act, an individual can face civil or criminal penalties up to a $250,000 fine or a 5-year prison term, or both. If a business violates the Act, it can face civil penalties or can be prosecuted and fined up to $1,000,000.

Under the Act, an Indian is defined as a member of any federally or State recognized Indian Tribe, or an individual certified as an Indian artisan by an Indian Tribe."

Offline steve2

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Re: Tom Brown jr/Stalking Wolf
« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2010, 05:23:34 pm »
I found more new information about Tom Brown Jr from an old source. Brown was briefly employed by
Sheriff Johnny France in the search for two mountain men who kidnapped a women jogger
and killed a searcher. The source is: Incident at Big Sky: The True Story of Sheriff Johnny
France and the Capture of the Mountain Men
by Johnny France and Malcolm McConnell.
This book devotes quite a few pages to Brown who the Sheriff refers to as "the tracking
guru." Evidently the Sheriff and his colleagues were impressed by his tracking skills and
abilities but not by his honesty or integrity. This is a book and not a magazine article.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2011, 04:10:41 am by steve2 »

Offline ntvwndr

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Re: Tom Brown Jr and "Stalking Wolf"
« Reply #21 on: October 08, 2013, 02:25:27 am »
I deleted every post I made concerning tom brown Jr for a few simple reasons. My daughter and her husband have been attending toms school and they enjoy it, they made sure that I knew I was wrong about tom and his school the last time we talked. So here I am looking like a jack ass, sorry tom and school.

Offline Laurel

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Re: Tom Brown Jr and "Stalking Wolf"
« Reply #22 on: October 08, 2013, 09:59:14 am »
Oh! Well, if a couple of people like it, it must be legit....  ::)

Offline TaiChiJohn

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Re: Tom Brown Jr and "Stalking Wolf"
« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2020, 11:49:56 pm »
I'm currently taking a college level course in "Ecopsychology" and was given a choice of books to read for this class. On was "Awakinging Spirits" by Tom Brown Jr. Not a great choice, but one I made thinking there might be some First NAtions content in the text.


Sadly, the links initially provided in this thread are for the most part non-functional at this point in time. I'm spotted lots of flaws and holes in Brown's story as presented, but, the anecdotal evidence in this thread is every bit as compelling as that. But I think I'll focus on critiquing Browns "philosophy" (which is what he apparently claims to teach)  — my own particular field of expertise — when composing my report for class. If anyone is interested in that sort of thing, the long story made short is: Edmund Husserl, who developed modern phenomenology, was criticized by Jean Paul Sartre (in Sartre's seminal text "The Imaginary") for never examining the presupposition that the veracity of visual perception extended into mental imagery. Not so, demonstrated Sartre: the two are distinct and imaging consciousness is produced by the mind, not induced through the senses.

Not only does Brown flub that now long established certitude, imparting to the imagination that certainty which the senses lay exclusive claim upon — he goes one step farther, insisting that the imagination can in turn impose within the real its whatever it produces, and this with certainty. As my old Metaphysics and Epistemology prof used to note, "It is a characteristic of the real that it resists acts of will."

Yup. So sign Tom Brown Jr. up as a fake philosopher as well.

Offline educatedindian

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Re: Tom Brown Jr and "Stalking Wolf"
« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2020, 12:34:49 pm »
Links will work if archived.

 About this capture

Tracker Trail
A website about Tom Brown Jr. and the Tracker School

 For Wilderness Survival and Tracking visit the Wildwood Survival website

Tom Brown Jr. - Controversies

Is Tom Brown Jr. a Fraud?

Every now and then the issue comes up ... Is Tom Brown Jr. a fraud? Did he really get taught by a full-blood Apache by the name of Stalking Wolf or did he make it all up? Can he really track mice across gravel, or is this a fantasy?

Probably the main reason that this issue arises is that no one seems to be alive who also knew Stalking Wolf. And Tom's childhood friend, Rick, is dead. So, there is a definite lack of 3rd party verification to his story, and that is a problem for some people.

Here are some emails on this topic from 1995.

These are posts from the NATCHAT (Nativenet) mailing list (archive #9502).
This list is no longer operational. Archives may be viewed here.

I have listed the first preliminary posts first, then the main one denouncing Tom Brown Jr.

Lyn Dearborn (
Wed, 1 Feb 1995 19:58:25 GMT
Jordan Bacon asked:
>Does anyone know about the Tom Brown School of Tracking, and would they give me some information/opinions about it? It may just be this particular instructor, or it may be an attitude picked up from his training?

The people to ask about his School of Tracking would be someone like the guys who put on the "Rabbit Stick Rondezvous" every fall up in Montana. There is also a Primative Technology Society that you could write to. Sorry I don't know anything about him ... though I do know one "mtn. Man" that might have heard of him ... I'LL TRY to remember to ask him next month when we rendezvous at a PowWow in N. Calif.

Mon, 6 Feb 1995 23:18:37 GMT
I was at REI (Recreational Equipment Inc) in Atlanta, GA this weekend and noticed three of the books by this person. The books say that he was raised Apache. A friend of mine said he had read the books and said he was impressed. So I know the books are available thru REI.

James Roper (
Wed, 8 Feb 1995 04:46:34 GMT
I read some of his books as well. I can't figure out whether they were impressive because we wanted them to be, or because they were true... Also, he was not raised Apache, but rather he was in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey when a friend (Apache) had a dad who was stationed in NJ, who had a grandfather that taught him how to track. I am sure there is a difference.


Lyn Dearborn (
Wed, 8 Feb 1995 05:38:07 GMT
I have a copy of the May/June 1994 in front of me in an article written by someone named Mark Baker called "Resigning My Domestic Happiness; A Pilgrims's Journey" ... included in this article on "period trekking" is a picture of Tom Brown fishing for trout ... the old way...
A month ago I'd never heard his name and now he's everywhere ... must be a conspiracy!


Tom Brown's Tracking School (NOT!)

Lyn Dearborn (
Wed, 8 Feb 1995 17:34:04 GMT

>Does anyone know about the Tom Brown School of Tracking, and would they
>give me some information/opinions about it? It may just be this
>particular instructor, or it may be an attitude picked up from his training

TOM BROWN JR. IS A FRAUD; some of his tracking instructors are pretty good. I have this info on him from the highest possible source (except "God", who will "get him" in the long run). Last night I spoke with a friend who is a Park Ranger & has just returned from a week-long Rendezvous in Arizona with the folks from the Society of Primitive Technology -- the group I recommended as a way of checking out this turkey.

You were right in your gut feelings that he is should be boycotted. He may have learned things since he initial training from First Nations peoples, for which he will pay dearly in the future.

No, he was NOT raised by or with the Apaches; Stalking Wolf, who supposedly trained him, doesn't exist. Tom Brown is from New Jersey and "bought" what knowledge he has from the workshops given through the Society of Primitive Technology. He actually learned quite a lot ... but it was from the teachers there, not First Nation's people that he got his knowledge. You were right in your gut feelings that he should be boycotted. He may have learned things since his initial training from First Nations peoples, for which he will pay dearly in the future.

There were quite a few of his "ex-teachers" at the Winter Count Rendezvous last week in Phoenix ... and they always get a kick out of it when some naive person who has come from one of Brown's workshops asks questions about him.

HOWEVER, THE BOOKS PUT OUT ***IN HIS NAME*** are quite good. The ghost writer Tom Brown hired to write them is quite knowledgeable and well respected FOR HIS KNOWLEDGE ... not his ethics for doing the job, but "we all gotta eat" as the saying goes.

My friend says "Tom Brown is a guru; a Cultive personality; the ultimate Con man, & if anyone has any ideas on how to stop his "school" ... go for it!

If any of you would like HONEST "Old Ways" training, contact the Society of Primitive Technology

SORRY I WASN'T ABLE TO GET "Official Word" sooner ... but I DID say I would keep checking ... ought to have a motto like the RCMP: "we always get our Man"!

Any of the people who work for/thru the Primitive Technology organization can verify what was reported to me.

Mii sago minick!


... and please remember: when you think you "smell a rat", you probably do; we need to pay attention to those messages from "our higher self"; got with the gutt feeling, and "just say no!". Namaste.

This website has no official or informal connection to the Tracker School or Tom Brown Jr. whatsoever



Tom Brown & The Tracker School in the Media

Walk Like an Apache
New Jersey Monthly, July 1987
by Tom Dunkel
Celebrity Survivalist Tom Brown believes he could save the world -- if we'd just adopt his Indian ways.

  In his book The Gospel of the Red Man, Ernest Thompson Seton, father of the American Boy Scout movement, tells of an encounter he had with a particularly energetic Indian. "In 1882 at Fort Ellice I saw a young Cree who on foot had just brought in dispatches from Fort Qu'Apelle 125 miles away in 25 hours. It created almost no comment."

   Tom "the Tracker" Brown -- Scottish by ancestry, a 37-year-old New Jerseyan by birth, and an Apache scout by choice -- often quotes that passage during the classes he teaches in wilderness survival. Seton's observation that the long-distance messenger failed to elicit so much as a "Jumpin' Jehoshaphat!" from onlookers is intended to impress upon students that Native Americans regularly performed seemingly extraordinary feats. It also may make it easier for them to accept some of Tom Brown's larger-than-life accomplishments, such as, oh, the time he hacked a hunk of hair off the behind of a hibernating grizzly bear, or his self-professed ability to diagnose cancer by examining someone's footprints.

   On a raw Monday night in April, 34 backpacking pilgrims from across the United States and Canada converged on the 200-acre Tracker farm in Asbury Township -- one of many Warren County hamlets that cling to Route 78 as if it's a highway made of corduroy and they are incorporated burrs -- to take Brown's entry-level "Standard Course." The students ranged in age from 17 to 48; six were women. They ran the lifestyle gamut from ordained Lutheran minister to Woodstock generation refugee. Each paid a $515 registration fee (which did not exempt anyone from cooking, cleanup, and wood-chopping chores), unrolled a sleeping bag in the loft of the open-faced barn that would be their live-in schoolhouse for the next week, eye­balled the grass tepee and squat sweat lodge that stand outside by the fire pit, dined from a pot of communal chow mein, and generally shuffled around like a shy summer camper waiting to be whistled into action.

   There was some nervous anticipation over the impending appearance of the man whom many people consider to be part Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan, and Geronimo: a human trifecta of guile, guts, and backwoods know-how. Critics dismiss Brown as a P. T. Barnum in moccasins, but no one denies that he is a marquee name among outdoorsmen. Nearly 500,000 copies of his books -- which include two highly dramatized autobiographies, The Tracker and The Search, and six field guides -- have been sold. Brown has been featured in Reader's Digest and People. He has done several guest shots on Late Night with David Letterman, was one of Charles Kuralt's On the Road video pitstops, and a movie of his life is in the works. More than 15,000 students have passed through Brown's survival school since it opened nine years ago. A few have run the eleven-course gauntlet that takes one from the spiritual eye-openers of the Philosophy Workshop ("If you're ready to see thunder on a clear night and fire where there's no wood, this is the course for you," Brown cryptically remarked) to the Advanced Expert excursion, 21 days in the Pine Barrens -- in February -- equipped with only the clothes on their backs. The latter is a scaled-down version of Brown's most famous exploit: about 1970 (the exact year slips his mind) he walked naked into the prickly Pine Barrens, emerging some twelve months later swaddled in skins and twenty pounds heavier. During that time he never once had pizza delivered to his campsite.

   ....Brown went on to say that 38 of his students became light-footed enough to grab an unsuspecting deer after finishing this course, that he has been called upon to track 600 criminals and missing persons, and that FBI agents, police officers, and "all the Army survival groups" come to him for special training.

   Brown owes most of this sundry knowledge to Stalking Wolf, the mentor he reverentially refers to as "Grandfather." Stalking Wolf was a Lipan Apache scout who wandered the world for 63 years before coming to Southern New Jersey in the 1950s to be near his son, a serviceman stationed at McGuire Air Force Base. Brown, born and raised in Beachwood, was seven when he met the mysterious Indian through his pal Rick. Stalking Wolf was Rick's grandfather, but he made both boys his blood brothers. For ten years, Grandfather, who was 83 when the apprenticeship began, used the Pine Barrens as a wildlife laboratory to teach his two disciples how to live and think like Apaches. He taught them to hunt. He taught them to fish. He blindfolded them and turned them loose in the forest for a weekend. He taught them the edible plants and wildflowers. He had them spend so much time on their bellies tracking animals that Brown remembers having a callus on his diaphragm. "Grandfather was barely five-foot-seven, weighed maybe 135 pounds," he told his students, "and he beat the hell out of us at 90 years old. That man could outrun me by miles. He could outclimb me. He could outlift me. And he could outwork me." At an age when most men have trouble fetching their slippers, Grandfather "had the body of a 25-year-old gymnast" and could scamper across dry leaves without making a sound. So said Tom Brown.

   After graduating from Toms River High School, Brown put Grandfather's collective wisdom to the test by roaming North America alone for ten years. He followed the beat of his nomadic Indian heart to the Badlands, Death Valley, and beyond, perfecting his survival skills until he didn't even require a knife to subsist in the harshest terrain. He then returned home, married, began writing books -- recounting serial adventures that have Tom Brown rescuing a lost child from a pack of wild dogs and Tom Brown coaxing a badger into drinking water from his hand -- and opened his school. The transition from wanderer to teacher fulfilled a vision that Grandfather had had: that young Tom would some day spread the Native American phi­losophy in the white man's world, sensitizing all those muck­amucks who have poisoned the Earth Mother, depleted her precious natural resources, and imprisoned themselves in a ghost dance of conspicuous consumption.

   ...A subtle lesson in observation had also been slipped in during the day. At one point, Brown interrupted himself in mid-lecture to exclaim, "God, wasn't that a splendid herd of deer that passed this morning!" Not one student had seen them. Later, he claimed to have crept to within ten yards of the class during their debris hut demonstration. Not one student had seen him. "Pay attention," Brown warned. "Never get so involved in one thing. Do that in bear country, you get et!"

   ....Dave Wescott had trouble digesting a few things unrelated to lunch. He is the director of the Boulder Outdoor Survival School in Idaho, and Brown had invited him east to observe his operation. Westcott had mixed reactions.

   "Probably the biggest service I've seen since I was here is the opening of the mind of the general public," said Wescott. "You know, 'Look around you because there's more to it than concrete and chain-link fences.' That I admire."

   He was less impressed with Brown's tales of surviving without equipment in 30-degree-below-zero weather, of spending a night in an oak tree in Montana during a lightning storm ("There are no oak trees in Montana," Wescott noted), and of Grandfather's superheroics. "The metaphor goes to the heart," he sighed, "but the literal translation gets stuck in the craw....It's just really hard to buy. But that's not to say it's not true."

  Tracking the Tracker is a formidable task. You might as well try to stalk a flea inside a coal mine or Weasel Walk across a hotplate. The biographical trail twists and turns. Much of it has grown cold. In his books, Brown says that Stalking Wolf eventually returned to the Southwest and died, while Rick (who is never given a surname) was killed in a horseback-riding accident in Europe. So much for the two principal corroborators. To complicate matters, Oscar Collier, who edited The Tracker and The Search, acknowledges that both names are pseudonyms, although that is never explained in the text. Collier, in fact, concedes that he himself "may have come up with" the folksy appellation Stalking Wolf.

   Other aspects of the Tracker legend seem to flirt with reality. Brown, for example, contends that he started his school partly because he was inundated with 10,000 letters after Reader's Digest published an excerpt from The Tracker in November 1978. One inside source puts the mail total at "tops, 200." Brown tells his students that he made the front page of the New York Times. That is so, and the 1977 news story -- which involved a rapist Brown tracked down in Bergen County -- garnered him national attention and led to a book contract. He does not mention, however, that the suspect was acquitted at the grand jury level and subsequently successfully sued Brown and the township for false arrest and libel. Furthermore, spokesmen for Army Special Operations Command say they have no record of Tom Brown's having trained any personnel. His wife claims the arrangement is kept hush-hush for security reasons.

   During his tracking lecture, Brown regaled his class with an anecdote about the Smithsonian Institution. Researchers there had brought him plaster casts of ancient footprints found at a dig in Africa. From analyzing the prehistoric pressure releases, Brown postulated that the walker had been carrying something in his right hand and looking over his left shoulder. He predicted that the man also had a hunting companion.

   "This so intrigued the Smithsonian Institute that now -- they're in the process, I'm waiting for it any day -- they're gonna dig in more and over to his left. If I'm right, I've read my oldest set of tracks correctly that I've ever read."

   That's interesting -- but not entirely correct. Dr. Kay Behrensmeyer, a Smithsonian anthropologist, took Brown's standard Course in 1984. She brought along with her photographs taken of casts made from footprints found in Kenya that were a million and a half years old. It just doesn't have anything to do with the Smithsonian," says Dr. Behrensmeyer. "The reason that I wan him to look at these tracks was because I thought his viewpoint would be interesting to me personally. Nothing more has been done." No additional digging is under way. No news of another find is due "any day."

   Embellishment has caused Brown problems in the past. He relied on three different co-authors for his first six books. Two of them admit to having lost faith in the veracity of the narrative. "I got real uncomfortable with it," says William Jon Watkins, a professor at Brookdale Community College who carried the writing load on The Tracker. Watkins got so uncomfortable he refused to do a sequel. Among other things, he was never able to determine whether "Rick" even existed or not.

   "It's a great story," Watkins says, "but the longer you're around Tom, the more you tend to think, 'Well, is this true or not?' There's nothing verifiable.... Tom is really twelve years old, and once you accept that basic fact you know exactly what you're dealing with. You can never really pin a twelve-year-old down....Once he [Brown] says something twice he really believes it. The weird thing is, every once in a while something will check out."

   ....According to Brown, the amount of "dirt time" he accumulated made for a painful journey to adulthood. As a kid he collected animal skulls, teeth, hair, and scat. After school he immediately bolted for the woods with Grandfather and Rick. His mind was filled with the spirit-that-moves-in-all-things -- not sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. John Young, the owner of a natural-food restaurant in Red Bank, grew up on the street in Holmdel where Brown lived in the early 1970s. Brown was a leader of Young's Boy Scout troop and often let him and his sister tag along on walks in the woods. Young has "verifiable evidence" that Brown did know an old Indian, although "the exact nature of the story isn't exactly as he says it is." The factual deviations, says Young, are simply a way of preserving and protecting sacred memories. He adds it's important to keep in mind that Indians place spiritual truth above literal truth. Don't expect hard facts from Tom Brown: "Tom is more of a native man than he is a white man, so he doesn't always subscribe to the principles of white people first."

   Young confirms that dancing to the beat of a different tom-tom brought Brown hard times. "He couldn't hold a job because he was always off in the woods," says Young. "He couldn't find a respectable position, and it seemed many people were always telling him he was a loser. My parents told me that he was some kind of nut. You know, 'He must be a queer or something. Why's he hanging around with all these young people?' Basically people his own age couldn't deal with him. People that were older than him just looked down on him as some kind of irresponsible bum. Because they didn't know anything about his native side."

  ....Tom Brown has adopted a black paw print as a personal and corporate logo. It is a coyote track. Among Native American Indians a coyote teacher is the most powerful and wil­iest of men. A trickster. A manipulator. He will lie to you, play dumb, fake you out -- anything to convey his lesson. Is Tom Brown a coyote teacher, a legitimate miracle man of the outdoors, or a slick businessman with a hyperactive imagination? Is he out to save the world or save a bundle? A former associate, who requested anonymity, notes that Brown barely made $2,000 a year chopping wood before he became a celebrity survivalist, whereupon his gross income rose to more than $300,000.

   Brown acknowledges that he's not entirely comfortable with his adopted role himself. "At times I feel like a cross between an old hellfire-and-brimstone minister and a snake-oil salesman. 'Trust me!' You know?"

 ....Questions about his background are addressed, but not in depth. No, he doesn't have any photos of Grandfather. "We never had cameras when we were kids.... We were too busy doing everything." His record, Brown in­sists, speaks for itself....