Born in Purbrook, Ontario, Sam Steele was a man of great strength and endurance. In 1873, he became a sergeant major in the North West Mounted Police and in 1885 was promoted to superintendent. He had a talent for being where things were happening. Steele and his force of eight men were given the huge task of keeping order along the Canadian Pacific Railway lines. They had to keep peace among the railway workers and stop the illegal selling and drinking of alcohol. On one occasion, after arresting the ringleaders in a riot of striking railway construction workers, he then had to set off to track down Cree chief, Big Bear, wanted in connection with the Northwest Rebellion.
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