2010 Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal

Volume 4 – 2010

Full Color Paperback, 8-1/2 x 11, 160 pages

ISSN: 1937-0733

Copyright 2010 -Sublette County Historical Society

4th annual, open submission, peer review, scholarly publication from the Museum of the Mountain Man.


Was Meriwether Lewis the Godfather of the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade?

by Thomas C. Danisi and John C. Jackson

Going Indian! The Use of Leggings and Breech Clout by the Euro-American Trapper of the Rocky Mountains

by Clay Landry

Union Pass: A ‘Mountain of Many Waters’

by Stephen V. Banks

Painting the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade: An Artist Creates On the Headwaters of Spanish River

by Tim V. Tanner

Warren Ferris, the Hudson’s Bay Company, and the Rendezvous of 1834

by Scott Walker

Wheels to Rendezvous

by E. Rick Williams

Goggles in the Rocky Mountain West

by Alida Boorn


2011 Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal

Volume 5 – 2011

Full Color Paperback, 8-1/2 x 11, 168 pages

ISSN: 1937-0733

Copyright 2011 -Sublette County Historical Society

5th annual, open submission, peer review, scholarly publication from the Musuem of the Mountain Man.


Tracking Jim Bridger: Finding the Trail of Old Gabe – It is time to take a new look at one of the most celebrated figures in the Rocky Mountain fur trade.

by Jerry Enzler

Was Fort Bonneville Simply Nonsense?

Did a Fort Bonneville exist on Wyoming’s Green River during the Rocky Mountain fur trade era? Warren Angus Ferris was the only Green River rendezvous participant to leave a physical description of a Fort Bonneville, or use the term Fort Nonsense. Contemporary fur trade journals, lack of physical evidence, and no verifiable artifacts suggest a bastioned Fort Bonneville did not exist.

by O. Ned Eddins

St. George and the Dragon Sideplate: An Art History for North American Trade Guns – A thorough examination of dragon imagery shows the serpentine design of trade gun sideplates is tied to western artistic traditions.

by Nathan E. Bender

‘A Life Wild and Perilous’: Death in the Far West among Trappers and Traders – Dime novels, early ‘historical’ biographies, Hollywood and individuals’ imaginations have often done a great disservice to the accurate reconstruction of the mountain men’s lifestyle by ignoring the risks involved in the occupation and the frequency of death. Research quickly reveals the often brutal conditions in which the mountain men truly worked. Yet it seems that the routine occurrence of death and mayhem in their daily lives is often lost among romantic tales, imagination and persistent myths.

by James Hannon, Jr.

Lock, Stock and Barrel: Arming the Far Western Mountaineers – When wielded by men who understood their limitations, muzzle-loading firearms made possible the exploration of the Far West.

by Doyle Reid

Myth and Mountain Men Analyzed: Heroes and Heroines – Whether Joe Meek or Luke Skywalker, Kit Carson or Sinbad, the hero adventurer is vital to our social-psychological essence.

by Ken Zontek, PhD

An 1824-1825 Columbia Fur Company Ledger – A recently discovered ledger adds new light to the business of CFC and some of the men employed in the fur trade of the upper Missouri River.

by Jim Hardee

For more information see Journal 2011

2012 Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal

Volume 6 – 2012

Full Color Paperback, 8-1/2 x 11, 116 pages

ISSN: 1937-0733

Copyright 2012 -Sublette County Historical Society

6th annual, open submission, peer review, scholarly publication from the Musuem of the Mountain Man.


Zackary Perch Claims the Northwest

Who was the man behind two mysterious 1807 letters challenging British encroachment on the waters of the Columbia?

2013 Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal

Volume 7 – 2013

Full Color Paperback, 8-1/2 x 11, 124 pages
ISSN: 1937-0733
Copyright 2013 -Sublette County Historical Society
7th annual, open submission, peer review, scholarly publication from the Museum of the Mountain Man.
Arikara Niitunisu Beliefs and the Fur Trade

Shows foreign traders gradually losing their status as supernatural spirits and becoming something more darkly human in the eyes of the Arikara.

by Dr. Mark van de Logt

Fact and Fancy in Alfred Jacob Miller’s Early Watercolors, 1837-39

Insightful comparisons of various phases of the artist’s career and illuminations of the pitfalls of assuming that Miller’s artwork can be considered historical data.

by Dr. Lisa Strong

Where was For William?

An examination of Miller’s paintings of Fort William for evidence of that structure’s historical location.

by Scott Walker

Commerce in the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade: Two 1830 Promissory Notes

An explanation of the financial system of the fur trade and the significance of these drafts for the two illiterate men who held them.

by Clay J. Landry

Bartolome Baca and the Opening of the Mexican Southwest

Baca, governor of the province of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico from 1823-25, helped initiate commerce for his state by sidestepping Mexican statutes to encourage beaver trapping.

by J. Ryan Badger

Trappers’ Brides: Intercultural Marriages in the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade

Parsing the fantasy and the reality in Miller’s artwork to separate Euro-American assumptions about Native American women from the actual roles those women fulfilled in their societies.

by Dr. Kathleen Barlow

Murthly: Castle of the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade

A glimpse into the personal life of Sir William Drummond Stewart that is anchored in the history of his ancestral home, Murthly Castle.

by James C. Auld



Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal, Volume 8

Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal, Volume 8

Volume 8 – 2014

Full Color Paperback, 8 1/2 x 11, 148 pages

ISSN:  1937-0733

Copyright 2014 – Sublette County Historical Society

8th Annual, open submission, peer review, scholarly publication from the Museum of the Mountain Man


William H. Ashley’s Newly Discovered 1826 Fur Trade Journal

Describes how the diary was found and eventually made its way into the archives of the Campbell House Museum in St. Louis Museum.  Includes the complete diary with transcriptions.  By Dr. Jay H. Buckley

1836 and 1838: When White Girls Crashed the Party

Conveys thought-provoking observations about the impact the presence of these women had on the rendezvous they attended.  By Jill R. Ottman

Smith, Jackson & Sublette:  A Difficult Partnership

A challenge to the accepted viewpoints regarding the business dealings of the three men, providing a particularly critical assessment of Jedediah Smith’s contribution to the enterprise.  By John C. Jackson

The Blackfoot Road to Plunder

An explanation of the Blackfoot tribe’s migration and trade routes that took them north and south along the Rocky Mountain Range from Alberta, Canada to Santa Fe, New Mexico.  By Paul M. Raczka

Jedediah Smith’s Disaster at Defeat River

Looks at clues found in first-hand reports as well as an on-the-ground search for further hints that help pinpoint the site of Smith’s camp that was overrun by Kelawatset Indians leaving few survivors.  By James C. Auld



Volume 9 – 2015

Full Color Paperback, 8 1/2 x 11, 156 pages

ISBN: 978-0-9768113-9-1

Copyright 2015 – Sublette County Historical Society

9th Annual, open submission, peer review, scholarly publication from the Museum of the Mountain Man


The Mystery of Alfred Jacob Miller’s Portrait of Captain Joseph Reddeford Walker

Questioning the identity of the person whose portrait Miller painted, the image of Joe Walker may not be him at all.  By Vic Nathan Barkin

Wolverines in the Fur Trade

Though the beaver was the most sought after animal during the fur trade era, many other creatures were trapped.  By Fred Poyner IV

The 1808 Murder Trial of George Drouillard

An in-depth look at an early St. Louis legal case, examining frontier justice using actual court documents.  By Melissa Tiffie

Exploring Rocky Mountain Trapper Productivity

Attempts to quantify beaver trapping, searching to discover how many pelts a mountaineer might reasonably expect to harvest in a twelve month period.  By Jim Hardee

Blackfeet Peacemaker:  The Search for Nicholas Small Robe

The search for the Piegan man who urged peaceful trade with neighboring tribes as well as with trappers.  By George Capps

Jim Bridger Challenges the HBC in the post-Rendezvous Era

A study of fur trade competition in the 1840s, utilizing important documents recently discovered in the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives.  By Jerry Enzler

Archibald Pelton, Mad Man on the Mountains

The tragic tale of a young mountaineer and contemporary of Andrew Henry, Manuel Lisa, and Wilson Price Hunt.   By Larry E. Morris




Volume 10 – 2016

Full Color Paperback, 8 1/2 x 11, 126 pages

ISBN: 978-0-9768113-9-1

Copyright 2016 – Sublette County Historical Society

10th Annual, open submission, peer review, scholarly publication from the Museum of the Mountain Man


Hugh Glass: The Rest of the Story 

New and overlooked data support another saga for Glass’s life – after his infamous grizzly bear encounter.  By Clay J. Landry

“This Outrageous Desease”: Charles Larpenteur’s Observations of the 1837 Smallpox Epidemic  

Follow the course and consequences of smallpox along the Missouri River in this examination based on the resurrected journal of Fort Union’s clerk.  By Mike Casler

The Rats at Fort Clark 

Francis Chardon, bourgeois of Fort Clark, waged a war on rats from 1834-1839.  Learn what made these vermin such a formidable adversary on the frontier.  By Don Arp

The Influence of the Fur Trade on John Sutter

Everyone knows that the 1849 Gold Rush started at Sutter’s Mill in California.  But did you know that John Sutter learned from mountain men on every step of his journey west?  By Jim Hardee

Naturalists in the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Era:  “They are a Perfect Nuisance”

The discovery of flora and fauna was also a business – not so different from piling up pelts.
By Carol Kuhn

Mountain Men and the Taking of California, 1845-47

As the fur trade waned, mountaineers played a significant role in the Mexican-American War.   By Larry E. Morris


2017 Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal


The Henry & Ashley Fur Company Keelboat Enterprize                                                                      

by Clay Landry and Jim Hardee                                                                                                                

Navigation of the dangerous and unpredictable Missouri River claimed many lives and thousands of dollars in trade goods in the early 1800s, including the HAC’s Enterprize.            

Two well-known fur trade historians detail the keelboat’s misfortune, Ashley’s resourceful response, and a possible location of the wreck.

More than Just a Rock: the Manufacture of Gunflints                                                                      

by Michael P. Shaubs  

For centuries, trappers and traders relied on dependable gunflints for defense, hunting, and commerce. This article describes the qualities of a superior gunflint and chronicles the revolution of a stone-age craft into an important industry.

The Hudson’s Bay Company and the “Youtah” Country, 1825-41                                                  

by Dale Topham    

The vast reach of the Hudson’s Bay Company extended to the Ute Indian territory in the latter years of the Rocky Mountain rendezvous period, as pressure increased from American trappers crossing the Continental Divide.

Otholoho and Grohean: Two Fast horses, One Set of Tracks

By Jerry Enzler

A story of two race horses whose tracks might have merged – one stead the pride of William Drummond Stewart, the other the favorite of Jim Bridger.

Traps: the Common Denominator                                                                                                          

by James A. Hanson, PhD.

The portable steel trap, an exponential improvement over snares, spears, nets, and earlier steel traps, revolutionized trapping in North America. Eminent scholar James A. Hanson tracks the evolution of the technology and its deployment by Euro-Americans and Indians.

Bad Pass Trail: Gateway between the Wind and Yellowstone Rivers                                            

by Mike Bryant

This 30-mile corridor, in use since prehistoric times, connects two important watersheds and provides a detour around the 1,000-foot-deep Big Horn Canyon. Use of the trail by mountain men is documented from 1805 through the end of the rendezvous era.




2018 Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal

Volume 12 features six new articles:

  • The Bones of More and Foy
    by Michael J. Evetts
    Searching for the Stephens Party ambush site. A forgotten story in the aftermath of the 1832 Battle of Pierre’s Hole.
  • A Keelboat Petroglyph: A New Discovery in the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming
    by Michael T. Bies
    One of the earliest known representations of fur trade era watercraft by indigenous people.
  • A Warrior’s Pride: Native Illustration and the Written Record
    by Journal Staff
    A remarkable war shirt likely illustrating the opening battle of the Arikara War of 1823.
  • “Now We Go”: Snake Country Freemen and the Desertions of May 1825
    by Thomas H. Holloway
    New perspective of the men involved and causes of this now famous international incident.
  • The Spark in the Powder: Iroquois Freemen Trappers in the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade
    by Dr. Jay H. Buckley and Lyn S. Clayton
    Comparing the success of Iroquois trappers with British verses American Fur companies.
  • “The Hunters of Kentucky” Reach Rendezvous
    by Scott Walker
    Music that can clearly be placed in the mountains and the Nez Perce man who made it his own.

The Journal was released during this year’s 2018 Green River Rendezvous Days at the Museum. The vol. 12  Journal Awards and Author Signing took place July 12, 2018 6:00pm at the Museum of the Mountain Man in Pinedale, Wyoming.

You can order the journal now and it will be shipped immediately!


2019 Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal

In this Volume:

Distant Thunder, Ghost Artillery in the Early
American West
by Mike Bryant
Unexplained sounds reminded early travelers of cannon fire, but the cause remains unexplained to this day.

The Cost of Shooting a Gun in the Rocky Mountain West
by Michael P. Schaubs
An analysis of how much each shot cost a mountaineer based on records from two western trading posts.

William Drummond Stewart, The H’ar of the
Grizzly in Him
by Alan McFarland
The story of Stewart’s time in the British Army and the Battle of Waterloo, a background that prepared him for life in the mountains.

Nathaniel Wyeth: Double-Crossed on the Green River
by Jim Hardee
Many of the events the rendezvous of 1834 is known for did not happen at Ham’s Fork. This article sets the record straight.

American Contracted Rifles of the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade
by Vic Nathan Barkin
Company requirements for a basic rifle laid out the specifications for this standard firearm.

Licenses to Trade with Indians
compiled by Journal Staff
Traders headed beyond the frontier were regulated by law, bonded and required to carry a license, resulting in a rich primary source of information.

2021 Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal

Articles in this volume:

In the Absence of the Indians: Looting of American Indian Graves During the Fur Trade
by Mark van de Logt, PhD, and Dan Jibréus

Welcome to my Indian Weed! Tobacco and the Fur Trade
by James A. Hanson, PhD

Grand Ignace: Apostle of the Flatheads
by George Capps

Sublette’s Trace: The Fur Trade’s Influence on Emigrant Trails
by Jim Hardee

The Fort Hall Account Book: Sales Patterns and Seasonal Cycles
by Michael P. Schaubs

For a further description and Editor’s Notes see Volume 15 – 2021

2022 Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal

Mountain Men Reveal Yellowstone: Observations of Daniel Potts, Warren Ferris, and Osborne Russell in the 1820s and 1830s
by Dr. Jay Buckley and Nathan Benavidez

The First American Mountain Man
by Jim Hardee

“Natural Born Indian”: The Apprenticeship of Edward Rose, 1807-1810
by Larry E. Morris

Movement and Protection for Rendezvous Caravans: The Ashley System
by Alan McFarland

Jedediah Smith’s Twice-Stolen Pistol
by James C. Auld

Guiding the Pathfinders
Jerry Enzler

A Majority of Scoundrels

By Don Berry
6″ x 9″ Paperback
432 Pages
Oregon State University Press, 2006 Reprint
ISBN 0870710893

An Informal History of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company

An invigorating narrative captures the peak years (1822-1834) of the fur trade in the Mountain West, the period in which the the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Company grew to be “the greatest name in the mountains.”

This lively prose brings to life the principle trappers – colorful figures including Jim Bridger, Hugh Glass, James Beckwourth, Joe Meek, Jed Smith, and many more. Using their journals, business records, and other sources, Berry laces his back-country narrative with an analysis of the power struggle between St. Louis businessmen who controlled the trade and the trappers.

A Name of Her Own by Jane KirkPatrick

During the fur-trapping era of the early 1800’s, with two rambunctious young sons to raise, Marie Dorion refuses to be left behind in St. Louis when her husband heads west. Faced with hostile landscapes, a untried expedition leader, and her volatile husband, Marie finds that the daring act she hoped would bind her family together may in the end tear them apart.

History records that on the journey, Marie meets the famous Lewis and Clark interpreter, Sacajawea, who-like Marie-is pregnant, married to a mixed-blood man of French Canadian and Indian descent, and raising a son in a while world. Together, the women forge a friendship that will strengthen and uphold Marie long after they part, even as she fights for her children’s very survival. With courage and faith that can only be fueled by a mother’s love, she endures. Her story reminds us that women are bound together in history, now and forever.

A Rendezvous Reader

A Rendezvous Reader

Tall, Tangled, and True Tales of the Mountain Men 1805-1850

Edited by James H. Maquire, Peter Wild, and Donald A. Barclay

Paperback, 348 pages, 9 x 6 inches

University of Utah Press 1997

ISBN: 0874805392

The accounts of the mountain men are spun from the experience of a nation moving westward: a trapper returns from the dead; hunters feast on buffalo intestines served on a dirty blanket; a missionary woman is astounded by the violence and vulgarity of the trappers’ rendezvous. These are just a few of the narratives, tall tales, and lies that make up A Rendezvous Reader.

The writers represented in this book include dyed-in-the-wool trappers, adventuring European nobles, upward-gazing Eastern missionaries, and just plain hacks who never unsheathed a Green River knife or traveled farther west that the Ohio River. What these writers have in common is that all helped create a uniquely American icon – the mountain man.

A Rendezvous Reader brings together the liveliest, most readable accounts by and about the mountain men. Whether you sample or devour this anthology of mountain horrors and delights, it is a book guaranteed to entertain.