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Potomac Books

JPS

The Great Platte River Road, The Great Platte River Road, 0803281536, 0-8032-8153-6, 978-0-8032-8153-0, 9780803281530, Merrill J. Mattes, , The Great Platte River Road, 0803231245, 0-8032-3124-5, 978-0-8032-3124-5, 9780803231245, Merrill J. Mattes

The Great Platte River Road
The Covered Wagon Mainline via Fort Kearny to Fort Laramie
Merrill J. Mattes

paperback
1987. 600 pp.
Illus, maps
978-0-8032-8153-0
$29.95 s
 
hardcover
1987. 978-0-8032-3124-5
$40.00 s
Out of Print
 

The Great Platte River Road through Nebraska and Wyoming was the grand corridor of America's westward expansion. A number of famous trails converged in the broad valley of the Platte, forming a kind of primitive superhighway for the great covered wagon migration from 1841 to 1866. From jumping-off places along the Missouri River—notably the Omaha-Council Bluffs, St. Joseph, and Kansas City areas—the emigrant throngs came together at Fort Kearny, Nebraska. Although they continued on to South Pass, Wyoming, and beyond, this book focuses on the feeder mutes and the more than three hundred miles between Fort Kearny and Fort Laramie.

The Great Platte River Road looks at border towns, trail routes, river crossings, stage stations, military posts, and such landmarks as Chimney Rock and Scott's Bluff. It goes far beyond geography and Indian encounters in revealing cultural aspects of the great migration: food, dress, equipment, organization, camping, traffic patterns, sex ratios, morals, manners, religion, crime, accidents, disease, death, and burial customs.


Merrill J. Mattes based his monumental work on an examination of more than seven hundred overland journals. He has included a chronology, original maps, contemporary sketches, modern photographs, and a comprehensive bibliography.

"Mattes has given us the handbook to end all handbooks—over a portion of this now legendary passageway west."—Robert C. Athearn, Journal of American History


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