Western Trails

Overland trails were popular means of travel used throughout the nineteenth century, and especially between 1830 and 1870. Settlers emigrating from the eastern United States were spurred by various motives, among them opportunities to claim land, escape from religious persecution, and for economic incentives. They traveled such pathways as the Oregon, California, Santa Fe, and Mormon Trails.

Western Trails is comprised of the following:

Supplemental teaching material and lesson plans for this subject area includes in-depth material related to the American fur trade, the fur trade rendezvous system, and establishment of trading posts and frontier forts. Specific information is provided about Jim Bridger and William Bent, two early frontier traders.

Videos in this program area are the story of mountain man Jim Bridger and how the rendezvous system served as the early method of commerce and trade in the West. Another story features frontier trader William Bent, who with his brothers developed the important trading fort on the Santa Fe Trail.