Across the Plains in 1844 Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The piece provided below is from the first chapter of the memoir of Catherine Sager Pringle, written around 1860, though it centers upon events in 1844. Pringle, along with her parents and six siblings, joined hundreds of other families in migrating across the plains in the early 1840s, headed for Oregon. Not yet a part of the United States (it would not achieve statehood until 1859), Oregon was presented as a healthful country with fertile fields. The Sager family, originally from Ohio, set off on their westward trek from St. Joseph, Missouri, a city along the Missouri River that was a popular jumping-off point for the trails toward Oregon and California.

Summary Overview

The piece provided below is from the first chapter of the memoir of Catherine Sager Pringle, written around 1860, though it centers upon events in 1844. Pringle, along with her parents and six siblings, joined hundreds of other families in migrating across the plains in the early 1840s, headed for Oregon. Not yet a part of the United States (it would not achieve statehood until 1859), Oregon was presented as a healthful country with fertile fields. The Sager family, originally from Ohio, set off on their westward trek from St. Joseph, Missouri, a city along the Missouri River that was a popular jumping-off point for the trails toward Oregon and California.

Pringle's memories of the journey westward are highly visual, and they resonate with other journals of those who followed the Overland Trail, a more southern alternative to the Oregon Trail. Her words are even more intriguing given her age of nine years at the time of her family's travels. While her family endured tragedy and heartache, Pringle and three of her siblings did eventually succeed in their mother's hope that they would reach Oregon and a better life, though it was not in the way that Naomi Sager had envisioned.

Defining Moment

For Catherine Sager Pringle's father, Henry, the dream of the West held much promise, and he fully intended that he and his family would reach it and erect a family home that would endure for generations. The climate, advertised as good for one's health and well-being, would greatly improve his wife's strength, and his children would grow with vitality. As he possessed skills both in farming and as a blacksmith, Henry Sager could easily have slotted into a comfortable role within a new community; after all, Pringle wrote that her father “had a wide reputation for ingenuity.” Sadly, like so many others who preceded them on the trail west, and the others that followed, Sager did not live to set foot upon Oregon, and neither did his wife. The Sagers planned well, travelling during the optimum time (late spring and summer), but, just like the weather, illness and accidents could not be foreseen.

Oregon Country, later a territory in 1846, was the land held aloft as fresh and open. The fields were lush with flora and fauna, a more picturesque area not to be found elsewhere. The alluring descriptions of Oregon were widespread through the 1830s and 1840s, and soon it reached such a crescendo, as historian Frank McLynn wrote, “that it almost seemed as that the laws of God's universe had been breached and that missionaries had found themselves back in the Garden of Eden” (33). Ginger Wadsworth, in her work Words West: Voices of Young Pioneers (2003), quotes Edward Lenox, who rode the Overland Trail with his father, as hearing that, “they do say that out in Oregon, the pigs are running about under the great acorn trees, round and fat, and already cooked, with knives and forks sticking in them” (44).

It is left to history what stories or hyperbole Henry Sager may have heard. Whatever prompted him to relocate his family from Missouri to Oregon, there is little doubt that he held only the best intentions for his family. However, as described by his daughter, the Sagers' overland trip was laden with accidents and tragedy. Knowing his end imminent as he lay dying of typhoid, or what his daughter terms “camp fever,” he despaired, “Poor child! What will become of you?” The Sagers did not travel with any relatives, nor did any relatives live in Oregon or other reaches west. Pringle wrote, “His wife was ill, the children small, and one likely to be a cripple,” in reference to an injury explained below. It would be left to the charity of strangers among the other travellers and those already in Oregon to care for Sager's seven children.

Author Biography

Catherine Sager Pringle, born on the fifteenth of April in 1835, holds a secure place in the history of American westward migration. Though she provides history with a rich recounting of her journey, she neglects or simply chooses not to include a narrative of her life before the family's decision to relocate. One of seven children (two sons, five daughters) born to Henry and Naomi Sager, Pringle survived the trek to Oregon, but at a severe price. Accidents were certainly common enough in everyday life, but even more so along the Overland Trail, especially for those unused to a nomadic life as part of a caravan. Parents were busy with a variety of duties—aside from driving the wagons and animals—to get their families through each day. On the first of August, roughly four months along the trail, Pringle leaped from the wagon while it was still in motion, but the hem of her dress “caught on an axe handle and the wagon wheels ran over her, crushing her legs” (McFlynn 208). Of the accident, Pringle wrote that her father “picked me up and saw the extent of the injury when the injured limb hung dangling in the air. In a broken voice he exclaimed, ‘My dear child, your leg is broken all to pieces!’” Though the leg was set, Pringle had to ride inside the wagon for the duration of the trip. Within less than a month, worse occurrences followed.

Both parents died of typhoid within weeks of each other, leaving Pringle and her siblings orphans. Before Henry Sager's death, he spoke to the wagon train's captain, William Shaw, and begged that he bring his family to the mission run by Dr. Marcus Whitman and Narcissa Whitman in Oregon, which was established in the region of Waiilatpu. Following Naomi Sager's death in September of 1844, the Shaws installed themselves as temporary guardians of the seven orphans until they met with the Whitmans the following month. Sadly, the tragedy of the Sager orphans did not end with their adoption by the Whitmans. Three years later, in November 1847, the Whitman mission was attacked by a branch of the Cayuse Indian tribe. Both Dr. and Mrs. Whitman were among the dead, as were the two Sager boys, John and Francis. Louisa, still a young child, succumbed to disease, leaving Catherine, Elizabeth, Matilda, and Henrietta, the baby born on the trail. Catherine, along with Elizabeth and Matilda, lived to old age, passing away in 1910 in her mid-seventies.

Historical Document

CHAPTER I: ON THE PLAINS IN 1844

My father was one of the restless ones who are not content to remain in one place long at a time. Late in the fall of 1838 we emigrated from Ohio to Missouri. Our first halting place was on Green River, but the next year we took a farm in Platte County. He engaged in farming and blacksmithing, and had a wide reputation for ingenuity. Anything they needed, made or mended, sought his shop. In 1843, Dr. Whitman came to Missouri. The healthful climate induced my mother to favor moving to Oregon. Immigration was the theme all winter, and we decided to start for Oregon. Late in 1843 father sold his property and moved near St. Joseph, and in April, 1844, we started across the plains. The first encampments were a great pleasure to us children. We were five girls and two boys, ranging from the girl baby to be born on the way to the oldest boy, hardly old enough to be any help.

STARTING ON THE PLAINS

We waited several days at the Missouri River. Many friends came that far to see the emigrants start on their long journey, and there was much sadness at the parting, and a sorrowful company crossed the Missouri that bright spring morning. The motion of the wagon made us all sick, and it was weeks before we got used to the seasick motion. Rain came down and required us to tie down the wagon covers, and so increased our sickness by confining the air we breathed.

Our cattle recrossed in the night and went back to their winter quarters. This caused delay in recovering them and a weary, forced march to rejoin the train. This was divided into companies, and we were in that commanded by William Shaw. Soon after starting Indians raided our camp one night and drove off a number of cattle. They were pursued, but never recovered.

Soon everything went smooth and our train made steady headway. The weather was fine and we enjoyed the journey pleasantly. There were several musical instruments among the emigrants, and these sounded clearly on the evening air when camp was made and merry talk and laughter resounded from almost every camp-fire.

INCIDENTS OF TRAVEL

We had one wagon, two steady yoke of old cattle, and several of young and not well-broken ones. Father was no ox driver, and had trouble with these until one day he called on Captain Shaw for assistance. It was furnished by the good captain pelting the refractory steers with stones until they were glad to come to terms.

Reaching the buffalo country, our father would get someone to drive his team and start on the hunt, for he was enthusiastic in his love of such sport. He not only killed the great bison, but often brought home on his shoulder the timid antelope that had fallen at his unerring aim, and that are not often shot by ordinary marksmen. Soon after crossing South Platte the unwieldy oxen ran on a bank and overturned the wagon, greatly injuring our mother. She lay long insensible in the tent put up for the occasion.

August 1st we nooned in a beautiful grove on the north side of the Platte. We had by this time got used to climbing in and out of the wagon when in motion. When performing this feat that afternoon my dress caught on an axle helve and I was thrown under the wagon wheel, which passed over and badly crushed my limb before father could stop the team. He picked me up and saw the extent of the injury when the injured limb hung dangling in the air.

THE FATHER DYING ON THE PLAINS

In a broken voice he exclaimed: “My dear child, your leg is broken all to pieces!” The news soon spread along the train and a halt was called. A surgeon was found and the limb set; then we pushed on the same night to Laramie, where we arrived soon after dark. This accident confined me to the wagon the remainder of the long journey.

After Laramie we entered the great American desert, which was hard on the teams. Sickness became common. Father and the boys were all sick, and we were dependent for a driver on the Dutch doctor who set my leg. He offered his services and was employed, but though an excellent surgeon, he knew little about driving oxen. Some of them often had to rise from their sick beds to wade streams and get the oxen safely across. One day four buffalo ran between our wagon and the one behind. Though feeble, father seized his gun and gave chase to them. This imprudent act prostrated him again, and it soon became apparent that his days were numbered. He was fully conscious of the fact, but could not be reconciled to the thought of leaving his large and helpless family in such precarious circumstances. The evening before his death we crossed Green River and camped on the bank. Looking where I lay helpless, he said: “Poor child! What will become of you?” Captain Shaw found him weeping bitterly. He said his last hour had come, and his heart was filled with anguish for his family. His wife was ill, the children small, and one likely to be a cripple. They had no relatives near, and a long journey lay before them. In piteous tones he begged the Captain to take charge of them and see them through. This he stoutly promised. Father was buried the next day on the banks of Green River. His coffin was made of two troughs dug out of the body of a tree, but next year emigrants found his bleaching bones, as the Indians had disinterred the remains.

We hired a young man to drive, as mother was afraid to trust the doctor, but the kindhearted German would not leave her, and declared his intention to see her safe in the Willamette. At Fort Bridger the stream was full of fish, and we made nets of wagon sheets to catch them. That evening the new driver told mother he would hunt for game if she would let him use the gun. He took it, and we never saw him again. He made for the train in advance, where he had a sweetheart. We found the gun waiting our arrival at Whitman's. Then we got along as best we could with the doctor's help.

Mother planned to get to Whitman's and winter there, but she was rapidly failing under her sorrows. The nights and mornings were very cold, and she took cold from the exposure unavoidably. With camp fever and a sore mouth, she fought bravely against fate for the sake of her children, but she was taken delirious soon after reaching Fort Bridger, and was bed-fast. Travelling in this condition over a road clouded with dust, she suffered intensely. She talked of her husband, addressing him as though present, beseeching him in piteous tones to relieve her sufferings, until at last she became unconscious. Her babe was cared for by the women of the train. Those kind-hearted women would also come in at night and wash the dust from the mother's face and otherwise make her comfortable. We travelled a rough road the day she died, and she moaned fearfully all the time. At night one of the women came in as usual, but she made no reply to questions, so she thought her asleep, and washed her face, then took her hand and discovered the pulse was nearly gone. She lived but a few moments, and her last words were, “Oh, Henry! If you only knew how we have suffered.” The tent was set up, the corpse laid out, and next morning we took the last look at our mother's face. The grave was near the road; willow brush was laid in the bottom and covered the body, the earth filled in—then the train moved on.

Her name was cut on a headboard, and that was all that could be done. So in twenty-six days we became orphans. Seven children of us, the oldest fourteen and the youngest a babe. A few days before her death, finding herself in possession of her faculties and fully aware of the coming end, she had taken an affectionate farewell of her children and charged the doctor to take care of us. She made the same request of Captain Shaw. The baby was taken by a woman in the train, and all were literally adopted by the company. No one there but was ready to do us any possible favor. This was especially true of Captain Shaw and his wife. Their kindness will ever be cherished in grateful remembrance by us all. Our parents could not have been more solicitous or careful. When our flour gave out they gave us bread as long as they had any, actually dividing their last loaf. To this day Uncle Billy and Aunt Sally, as we call them, regard us with the affection of parents. Blessings on his hoary head!

At Snake River they lay by to make our wagon into a cart, as our team was wearing out. Into this was loaded what was necessary. Some things were sold and some left on the plains. The last of September we arrived at Grande Ronde, where one of my sister's clothes caught fire, and she would have burned to death only that the German doctor, at the cost of burning his hands, saved her. One night the captain heard a child crying, and found my little sister had got out of the wagon and was perishing in the freezing air, for the nights were very cold. We had been out of flour and living on meat alone, so a few were sent in advance to get supplies from Dr. Whitman and return to us. Having so light a load we could travel faster than the other teams, and went on with Captain Shaw and the advance. Through the Blue Mountains cattle were giving out and left lying in the road. We made but a few miles a day. We were in the country of “Dr. Whitman's Indians,” as they called themselves. They were returning from buffalo hunting and frequented our camps. They were loud in praise of the missionaries and anxious to assist us. Often they would drive up some beast that had been left behind as given out and return it to its owner.

One day when we were making a fire of wet wood Francis thought to help the matter by holding his powder-horn over a small blaze. Of course the powder-horn exploded, and the wonder was he was left alive. He ran to a creek nearby and bathed his hands and face, and came back destitute of winkers and eyebrows, and his face was blackened beyond recognition. Such were the incidents and dangerous and humorous features of the journey.

We reached Umatilla October 15th, and lay by while Captain Shaw went on to Whitman's station to see if the doctor would take care of us, if only until he could become located in the Willamette. We purchased of the Indians the first potatoes we had eaten since we started on our long and sad journey. October 17th we started for our destination, leaving the baby very sick, with doubts of its recovery. Mrs. Shaw took an affectionate leave of us all, and stood looking after us as long as we were in sight. Speaking of it in later years, she said she never saw a more pitiful sight than that cartful of orphans going to find a home among strangers.

We reached the station in the forenoon. For weeks this place had been a subject for our talk by day and formed our dreams at night. We expected to see log houses, occupied by Indians and such people as we had seen about the forts. Instead we saw a large white house surrounded with palisades. A short distance from the doctor's dwelling was another large adobe house, built by Mr. Gray, but now used by immigrants in the winter, and for a granary in the summer. It was situated near the mill pond, and the grist mill was not far from it.…

Glossary

camp fever: typhoid, a disease common on the Overland Trail, and often fatal

Dutch doctor: Theophilos Dagen, the doctor who attended Catherine's injury

Grande Ronde: a valley in Oregon near the Blue Mountains; sometimes referred to as “La Grande Ronde”

Laramie: a fort on the North Platte River, today in Wyoming, that served as a stop on the trail

Snake River: a river that flows through the states of Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming

South Platte: a river running through Colorado and Nebraska

St. Joseph: a city in Missouri found along the Missouri River, which functioned as a starting-off point

Umatilla: a river in Oregon

Whitman, Dr.: Marcus Whitman, who with his wife established a mission in the Oregon territory; Catherine's adopted parents

Willamette: a valley in northwest Oregon

William Shaw: captain of the wagon train of which the Sager family was a part

Document Analysis

When Henry and Naomi Sager set out on their journey in April of 1844 from St. Joseph, Missouri, they had with them their six children—John, Francis, Catherine, Elizabeth, Matilda, and Louisa—who ranged in age from three to thirteen years. Months into the trail, Naomi gave birth to a fifth daughter, Henrietta. This venture into the unknown eventually led to both Henry and Naomi's deaths from typhoid, termed by Pringle “camp fever,” as well as a variety of accidents to Pringle and her siblings. With Henry's death in August of that year, Naomi—whose own demise closely followed his—and her seven children were left on the trail with the others in their caravan, trusting to charity for their support and maintenance. As they were so far along the trail, turning back was not possible, nor did the Sagers have any relatives joining them on the trek or ahead of them in Oregon.

Pringle's details, namely the tragedies and various accidents, including that of her leg being run over by a wagon wheel, reveal a forthright description of progress along the trail, yet there is a measure of detachment in her memoir. This may be read in a variety of ways, such as simply the passage of time. The events of 1844 occurred when Pringle was only nine years old, whereas she recorded her memories around the age of twenty-five.

Despite the eclipse of approximately sixteen years from the events to her writing of them, Pringle is very clear on particulars, such as the rivers she passed and the people she met. This would suggest, though the resources do not account for it, that she may have had help during the writing process, or, at some point after settling in Oregon, was moved to record her memories. Either way, her memoir provides modern readers with valuable insight into her experience and that of countless others.

Life on the Trail

A journey along the Overland Trail, despite the daily hard work, all the hours of travelling, and the consequent stresses, presented itself as a big adventure to the hundreds of children making their way across the plains with their parents. As the majority of those on the trail were of farming families, their children would not have been strangers to hard work; they would already have been used to heavy chores throughout their daily routines. Adapting such duties to the outdoor spectrum on the dusty plains took getting used to, especially for those involved in the family's cooking and washing. Here, men, women, and children performed their various chores while exposed to torrential rains and sweeping winds, excessive heat, and, if delayed, snow and hail storms.

Travelling westward required great fortitude and hardiness, and it came with a heavy price tag. The journey itself would take months, but the planning stages could take that or longer. Supplies had to be bought, gathered, or made, enough to sustain an entire family for the trek west. Posts and forts were located along the trail that sold various goods and supplies, but typically their prices were at a premium. Francis Parkman, a historian from Boston, Massachusetts, travelled the Oregon Trail in the 1840s—around the same time as the Pringle family—and was not impressed with the actions of storekeepers: “They [emigrants on the trail] were plundered and cheated without mercy. In one bargain, concluded in my presence, I calculated the profits that accrued to the fort, and found that at the lowest estimate they exceeded eighteen hundred percent” (McLynn 106). Planning and saving for the emigration to Oregon might have taken a while, but, as shown by Parkman, it was far better than running out of supplies and losing money at forts.

A rather large item of necessity, and the iconic image of the western pioneer, was the wagon. The wagon served a number of purposes: conveyance, storage, shelter, sickroom, and pantry. It had to be structurally sturdy to withstand the rigors of the trip, and yet not too heavy, as it still needed to be pulled easily along by animals. Frank McLynn cites oak, hickory, and maple as some of the more popular types of wood used in construction, with elm and ash also favored (53). The top cover—typically made of “a heavy rainproof canvas, caulked, oiled, and painted, usually linen, sailcloth, or oilcloth” (53)—provided shelter to the goods inside. The oxen or mules (both were popular for teams) did not have an easy time; wagons could carry anywhere from 1,000 to 2,500 pounds, though 1,600 pounds was the recommended weight limit. Generally, the wagon was not used to carry all members of the family, as the back of the wagon was mainly for storage. Excepting the ill and the very young, all others walked alongside the wagon; it was not merely an issue of space, but extra weight for the animals at the head. Pringle, due to her leg accident, could not walk, so was allocated a spot in the wagon for the remainder of the journey. Given that the wagon would not have been built with suspension, her ride inside would not have been very comfortable or enviable, and all the bumps along the trail may have aggravated her injury further.

Gathering supplies for an entire family for a months-long journey into the relatively unknown took up the bulk of the preparation time, and it did not merely include food. The wagon was to be a home in miniature. With that in mind, all essential items had to be brought: tools for fixing the wagon, candles, soap, kitchen utensils, medicine and various other medical items, clothes, bedding, sewing materials, guns and ammunition, and other things deemed essential. Ginger Wadsworth cites the memory of a thirteen-year-old girl, Kit Scott, who recorded her memories of her family's westward preparation of clothes and other goods:

[The] fingers of the women and girls all the winter, providing… bedding, blankets, of stockings and sunbonnets, of hickory shirts and gingham aprons… that the family might be outfitted for the trip. Ah! The tears that fell upon these garments, fashioned with trembling fingers by the flaring light of tallow [animal fat] candles; the heartaches that were stitched and knitted and woven into them, through the brief winter afternoons. (14)

While measures were taken for keeping warm and dry during the trip, many families spent much of their preparation time ensuring that their families would be well fed. Some practiced cooking over open fires so that they might be ready when the time came. Others put time into making what they could before the journey, such as the snack so often associated with Civil War soldiers, hardtack. John Roger James, cited by Wadsworth, remembered how he, his father, and his brothers spent much of their time in this occupation before setting out for Oregon:

Father fixed up a place to mix up a lot of dough and knead it with a lever fastened to the wall. He would put a pile of dough into a trough… and would have us boys spend the evening kneading the dough thoroughly, then roll it out and cut it into cracker shape about four inches square and then bake them hard and fill them into seamless grain sacks. There would be no lard or butter used, as there would be danger of them spoiling. (16)

Hardtack was not known for being an epicurean delight, but it was food and it satisfied hunger, if not taste, especially if there was nothing else available.

It is very probable that the extra chores performed before a family made their way westward also served as trials for the children for the work they would be expected to do along the trail. As deemed by their sex, older daughters were babysitters from the start, along with assisting their mothers with the cooking, mending, and doctoring. While the various duties of children may have differed from family to family according to their needs, there was one chore that all historians document, the same chore remembered by many who made the journey as children: the collection of buffalo chips. Wood for fuel was not always readily available along the plains. The pioneers took to using whatever was plentiful and available, and one that filled both these criteria was the dried dung of buffalos, known as buffalo chips. McLynn states that the chips, “when dry… resembled rotten wood and would make a clear hot fire” (103). Marion Russell, a child on the trail, remembered being on the prairie and collecting buffalo chips:

I would stand back and kick them, then reach down and gather them carefully, for under them lived spiders and centipedes. Sometimes scorpions ran from beneath them. I would fill my long full dress skirt with the evening's fuel and take it back to mother. (Wadsworth 84–85)

For others, the drudgery of chores held highlights, such as driving the teams pulling the wagons and cracking the whip. Taking part in such a grown-up activity, especially given the arduous life on the trail, must have indeed been a special treat.

Buffalo

Pringle's father, like many men, was anxious to score a buffalo (or bison) kill; according to Pringle, he did accomplish this, but there is no mention whether Mr. Sager made any use of the meat. Pringle wrote only that “he not only killed the great bison, but often brought home on his shoulder the timid antelope.” Read at face value, Pringle presents her father as shooting for sport, rather than for the necessity of feeding his large family, particularly when faced with Pringle's comment that her father “was enthusiastic in his love of such sport.” The buffalo, like the covered wagon an iconic image of the westward movement, roamed the plains in such large numbers so as to look like brown waves moving about the land. Although the assorted American Indian tribes were scrupulous in using every part of the animal, those on the trail were not so meticulous. Only a small portion of the buffalo was taken for food—the “tongues, hump meat, and marrow bones,” the rest left to scavenger animals such as vultures and wolves, while the American Indians could fashion clothing, shelter, and food from the buffalo (Wadsworth 80). Buffalo hunting for sport came into vogue during this time, driving the animals nearly to extinction. The sport continued through the late nineteenth century, attracting the likes of future president Theodore Roosevelt.

The Sagers, like countless other families striving to make a fresh start in Oregon, met with tragedies they never could have foreseen. Plagued by accidents and then the deaths of their parents, the Sager children experienced the thrill of the trail, but also the trail at its most harsh and brutal. It would be impossible to estimate the number of families that did not arrive in the West without losing someone they loved. Despite the sadness of her story, Catherine Sager Pringle left for history the testimony of her experience, an experience shared by more people than she could have realized.

Essential Themes

As evidenced in Pringle's excerpt, accidents along the trail could occur easily, as when Pringle jumped off the moving wagon. Simple accidents and infections, though, particularly in a time of limited medical knowledge—much less being situated along the plains far from a doctor—could spell certain death. For example, during the Civil War, twenty years after these events, more soldiers died from disease and infection than from gunshots. There were cases, such as those of Henry and Naomi Sager, in which even the presence of a doctor could not assuage bouts with typhoid. Typhoid and cholera, both prevalent along the plains (as well as in cities back East) could act swiftly, often with fatal results.

The Sagers' affliction with typhoid aside, accidents were what plagued the family the most. Before the mention of her own accident, Pringle recounts one of her mother. She states, “Soon after crossing South Platte the unwieldy oxen ran on a bank and overturned the wagon, greatly injuring our mother.” This occurrence was also documented by McLynn; he states that in addition to injuring Naomi Sager, the overturning wagon also tore off Pringle's dress and that “Henry Sager's face was badly skinned” (209). The day did not end there for the Sager family, as “later, the girls went out for a midnight stroll and were nearly killed when a sentry shot at them, mistaking them for Indians” (209). Life on the trail, though filled with promise and excitement, was also filled with dread, as demonstrated by Pringle's memories.

Bibliography and Additional Reading
  • Frizzell, Lodisa. Across the Plains to California in 1852: Journal of Mrs. Lodisa Frizzell. Ed. Victor Hugo Paltsits. 1915. Project Gutenberg, 2010. E-book. Web. 25 Mar. 2013.
  • Gwartney, Debra. “Plucked from the Grave: The First Female Missionary to Cross the Continental Divide Came to a Gruesome End Partly Caused by Her Own Zeal. What Can Learn from Her?” American Scholar 80.3 (2011), 71–81. Print.
  • Jones, Karen. “‘My Winchester Spoke to Her’: Crafting the Northern Rockies as a Hunter's Paradise, c.1870–1910.” American Nineteenth Century History 11.2 (2010), p. 183–203. Print.
  • Keyes, Sarah. “‘Like a Roaring Lion’: The Overland Trail as a Sonic Conquest.” Journal of American History 96.1 (2009), 19–43. Print.
  • McLynn, Frank. Wagons West: The Epic Story of America's Overland Trails. London: Cape, 2002. Print.
  • Menard, Andrew. “Down the Santa Fe Trail to the City upon a Hill.” Western American Literature 45.2 (2010): 162–188. Print.
  • Pringle, Catherine Sager. Across the Plains in 1844. c.1860. Archives of the West. West Film Project and WETA (PBS), 2001. Web. 25 Mar. 2013.
  • Royce, Sarah. Across the Plains: Sarah Royce's Western Narrative. Ed. Jennifer Dawes Adkison. Tucson: U of Arizona P, 2009. Print.
  • Wadsworth, Ginger. Words West: Voices of Young Pioneers. New York: Clarion, 2003. Print.
  • Bagley, Will. So Rugged and Mountainous: Blazing the Trails to Oregon and California, 1812–1848. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2010. Print.
  • With Golden Visions Bright before Them: Trails to the Mining West, 1849–1852. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2012. Print.
  • “Diaries, Memoirs, Letters, and Reports along the Trails West.” The Overland Trail. Elizabeth Larson, n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2013.
  • Thompson, Erwin N. Shallow Grave at Waiilatpu: The Sagers' West. Portland: Western Imprints, 1985. Print.
  • Werner, Emmy E. Pioneer Children on the Journey West. Boulder: Westview P, 1995. Print.
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