To provide for her sick son, Ada Blackjack went on an expedition heading for Wrangler Island. She set out as the seamstress and cook with a team of four members:, Allan Crawford, 20, Lorne Knight, 28, Fred Maurer, 28, and Milton Galle, 19 to claim Wrangel Island for the British Empire, funded by the Arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson.
They were supposed to be picked up after a year, but the Teddy Bear, which was the ship meant for the trip had been forced to turn back due to impenetrable ice. They realized their supplies weren’t going to last for another year. By 1923, one of the men, Lorne Knight grew ill and the rest of the team decided to leave him in the care of Blackjack and set out to find help. Only they never returned.
Ada cared for Knight for six months, taking on the difficult role of four men. She acted as a huntsman, gathering wood, hunting for food, and caring for him. All the while, Knight projected his anger onto her.
Knight died on 23 June, leaving Blackjack stranded alone on the island. Blackjack left his body on his bed inside his sleeping bag and put up a barricade of boxes to protect his body from wild animals.
Blackjack also built a gun rack above her bed so that she would not be caught by surprise if polar bears ventured too close to camp, learned how to set traps to lure white foxes, taught herself to shoot birds, built a platform above her shelter so that she could spot polar bears in the distance, and crafted a skin boat from driftwood.
After nearly two years from her arrival, the ship Donaldson rescued her. She reunited with her son and went to spend life in poverty after receiving harsh backlash against her for not caring better for Knight.