A Life Wild and Perilous: Mountain Men and the Paths to the Pacific

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Henry Holt and Company, 1997 - History - 392 pages
8 Reviews
Early in the Nineteenth century, the mountain men emerged as a small but distinctive group whose knowledge and experience of the Transmississippi West extended the national consciousness to continental dimensions. Though Lewis and Clark blazed a narrow corridor of geographical reality, the west remained largely terra incognita until trappers and traders -- Jim Bridger, Kit Carson, Tom Fitzpatrick, Jed Idiah -- opened paths through the sun-choked mountain wilderness. Collectively, they came to know every stream, mountain crag, canyon cataract, waterless stretch of plain, refuge of game, hostile Indian hideout.

By the time the beaver market collapsed in the early 1840s, the mountain men's remarkable familiarity with the land provided a map to the Rockies, the Great Plains, the Mexican southwest, the disputed Oregon Territory, and California. They had already helped the first missionaries across the continent to lay groundwork for the wagon trains that followed. They opened the way west to Frimont and played a major role in the pivotal years of 1845 to 1848, when Texas was annexed, the Oregon question decided, and the Mexican War ended with the southwest and California in American hands and the Pacific Ocean our western boundary.

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Review: A Life Wild and Perilous: Mountain Men and the Paths to the Pacific

User Review  - JP - Goodreads

Utley provides a history of the life and times of the men who first explored the American west during the early days of western expansion. Some motivated by the urge of discovery and most by the ... Read full review

Review: A Life Wild and Perilous: Mountain Men and the Paths to the Pacific

User Review  - Craig - Goodreads

After the Lewis and Clark expedition to the Pacific Ocean (1804-1806), numerous frontiersmen treked to the Rocky Mountains and beyond in search of beaver and adventure. They were known as the Mountain ... Read full review

About the author (1997)

Robert M. Utley, former Chief Historian & Assistant Director of the National Park Service, is the author of many books & articles on the West, "Cavalier in Buckskin", also published by the University of Oklahoma Press, won the 1989 Western Heritage Wrangler Award for Outstanding Nonfiction Book & was a Book-of-the-Month Club & History Book Club selection. Since his retirement from the federal government, he has devoted himself full time to historical research & writing.

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