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Mountain Men were the principal figures of the fur trade era, one of the most interesting, dramatic, and truly significant phases of the history of the American trans-Mississippi West during the first half of the 19th Century. These men were of all types some were fugitives from law and civilization, others were the best in rugged manhood; some were heroic, some brutal, most were adventurous, and many were picturesque.
The typical trapper was a young man strong hardy and adventure loving. Having succumbed to the lure of the wilderness, his thin veneer of civilization soon rubbed off. In the wilds he had little need for money barter supplied his simple wants. Possibly short on book-learning, he could read moccasin tracks, beaver sign, and trace of the travois.
Memorials to them cover the West. Mountain peaks, passes, rivers and lakes carry their names. Towns and counties have been christened in their honor. Their trails have become our highways their campfire ashes, our cities.
Included in Volume 6 are the biographies of Charles H. Beaubien; James P. Beckwourth; William W. Bent; James Bridger; Kit Carson; James Craigie; David Crow; Chat Dubray; Charles Gardner, Big Phil; the Cannibal;” Elbridge Gerry; Hugh Glass; Andrew Henry; Wilson Price Hunt; Calvin Jones; Francisco Laforet; Baptiste LaLande; J. LaRamee; Maurice LeDuc; Pierre Lesperance; Etienne Lucier; Thomas McKay; Alexander Roderick McLeod; Lucien Maxwell; Pierre Menard; Pierre Pariseau; Francois Payette; John Poisal; Sylvestre S. Pratte; Etienne Provost; Alexander Ross; and Solomon Howard Smith.
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LeRoy R. Hafen (1893-1985) was Professor of History at the University of Denver and Brigham Young University, Executive Director of the State Historical Society of Colorado, and author/editor of numerous books on the American West, including Ruxton of the Rockies, Fur Trappers and Traders of the Far Southwest: Twenty Biographical Sketches, and Handcarts to Zion: The Story of a Unique Western Migration, 1856-1860.
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