Wide Missouri

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The Author


Thom Cantrall is a fourth generation native of the west.  He grew up on stories of The Mountain Man the fur trade. He lived his life out of doors where these tales took on a new sense of wonder and immediacy.After spending nine years in the US Navy, Thom was discharged while living on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.  He began college in Port Angeles, WA and finished his degree in Logging Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle.  He owned and operated a small logging company on the West End of the Peninsula, working and playing in the north woods.   After genealogy research taught him that his great great grandparents traveled the fabled Oregon Trail in 1851, he began an exhaustive era

of research into all things leading to this period.  He was especially interested in the interactions between the earliest men west and the natives they found here.Thom is a prolific writer, having written and published articles on Construction, Logging and, especially on all facets of hunting and fishing.  He is the author of three published books to date with more in the works.

The Story

This story  is a mixture truth and imagination.  In all cases, the scenaria presented are plausible and could have happened.  With the exception of the McDonald family, Dad Jens, Ned Glass and the black man, Lem, all are actual historical characters.  For the most part, the stories told of these people are true.  Alexander McNair was as described and did have the experiences explained.  Of course, Hugh Glass is real and the stories told of his miraculous life are entirely true.  John Day, who left his name on rivers, towns and valleys, lived and died as described.

Above all else, the places are as described in the story.  Extensive research has gone into the locales visited by our people.  The Lemhi

The Brigade Headed To the High Country

Valley is exactly as described… one of the most beautiful places God ever created.  So are the Craters of the Moon and Thousand Springs… the outlet of the Lost River… Soda Springs are still there and active even if Steamboat Spring is under the reservoir, you can still see it bubbling to the surface.

This is Volume I of three.  Volume II will follow Jedediah Smith on this trips to California and thence to Ft. Vancouver.  While Volume I covers the time period from 1821 to 1826.  Volume II will carry on to the early 1830s with Volume III describing the fur trade through the end of the era by 1840.


There is probably not a more important time in our country’s history as pertains to the settlement of anything but the eastern seaboard than the scant two decades of the Mountain Man.  He didn’t know it, but he paved the way for the rest of the world to follow him west.  That he also planted the seeds that sealed the fate of the native tribes he encountered was not his fault.  He had no idea that was what would come of it.  He had no control over the greed that followed him nor of the corruption of the officials appointed by other corrupt officials that ignored the plight of those in their charge that they might

increase their own fortune.  There will be retribution for the travesties perpetrated.

Volume II will be published when time permits with a possible Volume III to follow apace.