The Perilous West: Seven Amazing Explorers and the Founding of the Oregon Trail

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Rowman & Littlefield, 2013 - Biography & Autobiography - 239 pages
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Although a host of adventurers stormed west in 1806 after Lewis and Clark's safe return, seven of them left unique legacies because of their monumental journeys, their lionhearted spirit in the face of hardship, and the way their paths intertwined time and again. The Perilous West tells this riveting story in depth for the first time, focusing on each of the seven explorers in turn - Ramsay Crooks, Robert McClellan, John Hoback, Jacob Reznor, Edward Robinson, Pierre Dorion, and Marie Dorion. These seven counted the Tetons, Hells Canyon, and South Pass among their discoveries. More importantly, they forged the Oregon Trail-a path destined to link the Atlantic coast with the Pacific, spurring national expansion as it carried trappers, soldiers, pioneers, missionaries, and gold-seekers westward. The Perilous West begins in 1806, when Crooks and McClellan meet Lewis and Clark, and the vast expanse from the Dakotas to the Pacific coast appears a commercial paradise. The story ends in 1814, when a band of French Canadian trappers rescue Marie Dorion, and even John Jacob Astor's well-financed enterprise has ended in violence and chaos, placing the protagonists squarely in the context of Thomas Jefferson's monumental opening of the West, which stalled with the War of 1812.

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The Perilous West: Seven Amazing Explorers and the Founding of the Oregon Trail

User Review  - Nathan Bender - Book Verdict

Morris (The Fate of the Corps: What Became of the Lewis and Clark Explorers After the Expedition) here focuses on the early 1800s Western fur trade, beginning with Robert McClellan and Ramsey Crooks ... Read full review


1 I Shall Have Two Boats Well Manned and Armed
2 A Powerful Company Is Forming
3 Dissolved by Mutual Consent
4 We All Now Became Blind from the Reflection of the Suns Rays
5 Whiskey Flowed Like Milk and Honey in the Land of Canaan
6 About Seventy Able Bodied Men Nerved to Hardship
7 Families Plantations and All Vanished
8 A Very Sad Recollection
Biographical Directory
A Brief History of the Oregon Trail
Works Cited
About the Author

9 The Inscrutable Ways of Providence

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About the author (2013)

Larry E. Morris is the author of The Fate of the Corps, which was named a Top Academic Title by Choice and a History Book Club selection. Morris has published articles on early Western history in such periodicals as The Missouri Historical Review, American History, and We Proceeded On. He is a senior editor with the Joseph Smith Papers Project. He and his wife, Deborah, have four children—Isaac, Courtney, Justin, and Whitney—and live in Salt Lake City.

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