To weary travelers on the Oregon Trail during the middle decades of the nineteenth century, Fort Laramie was a welcome sight. Its walls and flag-decked towers rose from the high plains, their solidity suggesting that the white man was gaining a toehold in the wilderness.
Hafen and Young present the colorful history of Fort Laramie from its establishment as Fort John in 1834 to its abandonment in 1890. Early on, the fort was controlled by the American Fur Company and patronized by trappers like Jim Bridger and Kit Carson. Then it was a vital supply center and rest stop for a tide of emigrants–missionaries, Mormons, forty-niners, and homeseekers.
The cast of characters in this great historical pageant reads like a who’s who of the American West.