A Life Wild and Perilous
By Robert M. Utley
(Henry Holt & Company, Hardcover, 9780805033045, 400pp.)
Publication Date: August 1, 1997
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By the time the beaver market collapsed in the early 1840s, the mountain men's remarkable familiarity with the land provided a map to the Rockies, the Great Plains, the Mexican southwest, the disputed Oregon Territory, and California. They had already helped the first missionaries across the continent to lay groundwork for the wagon trains that followed. They opened the way west to Frimont and played a major role in the pivotal years of 1845 to 1848, when Texas was annexed, the Oregon question decided, and the Mexican War ended with the southwest and California in American hands and the Pacific Ocean our western boundary.