Bret Harte was an American author and poet, best remembered for his accounts of pioneering life in California. Harte moved to California in 1853, later working there in a number of capacities, including miner, teacher, messenger, and journalist. His story, "The Luck of Roaring Camp," appearing in The Overland Monthly magazine, propelled Harte to nationwide fame.
The title story "Trent's Trust" concerns the adventures of Randolph Trent, who journeys to San Francisco from the mining districts, in search of work and sympathy: "Randolph Trent stepped from the Stockton boat on the San Francisco wharf, penniless, friendless, and unknown. Hunger might have been added to his trials, for, having paid his last coin in passage money, he had been a day and a half without food." A chance encounter with a stranger seems to signal a change in his fortune, but Randolph's trials are not over.