What were the lived experiences of men on the frontiers of the British Empire? Using their journals, diaries and letters Robert Hogg examines the dreams, challenges and failures of men seeking their 'independence' on the margins of empire and demonstrates that life in colonial Queensland and British Columbia challenged preconceived ideas of manliness. Men were forced to sacrifice or modify elements of this ideal; some accepted that their manly aspirations were impossible to fulfil. In fact, this ideal ofmanliness contained a deep paradox. It was inherently contradictory, encompassing physical and mental prowess, caste hierarchies and egalitarianism, heterosexual dominance and the possibility of homoeroticism, Christian piety and the potential for violence and murder.