Known by the Indians as "Broken Hand," Thomas Fitzpatrick was a trapper and a trailblazer who became the head of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. With Jedediah Smith he led the trapper band that discovered South Pass; he then shepherded the first two emigrant wagon trains to Oregon, was official guide to Fremont on his longest expedition, and guided Colonel Phil Kearny and his Dragoons along the westward trails to impress the Indians with howitzers and swords. Fitzpatrick negotiated the Fort Laramie treaty of 1851 at the largest council of Plains Indians ever assembled. Among the most colorful of mountain men, Fitzpatrick was also party to many of the most important events in the opening of the West.
LeRoy R. Hafen was the author of more than forty books on the American West.
"A distinct and valuable contribution to American biography."—Henry Steele Commager, Books
"The volume will appeal to everyone with a lively imagination and an interest in the early West."—New York Times
"The general reader as well as the special student will be chiefly interested in the volume as a description of life in the West and as a chapter in the history of the contact of races in America. . . . A highly entertaining story"—American Historical Review