As a national network of roads and hostels spread across Canada, so did the practice of hitchhiking. Thumbing a Ride examines its rise and fall in the 1970s, drawing on records from the time. Many equated adventure travel with freedom and independence, but a counter-narrative emerged of girls gone missing and other dangers. Town councillors, community groups, and motorists demanded a clampdown on a transient youth movement they believed was spreading anti-establishment nomadism. Linda Mahood asks new questions about hitchhiking as a rite of passage, and about adult intervention that turned a subculture into a pressing moral and social issue.