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The Great American Plains

This is a vast area stretching westward from the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Here you can experience St. Louis, Missouri's birth as a trading post in the wilderness. From there you can travel up the Missouri River with Lewis and Clark as well as other explorers. Before Zebulon Pike, Manuel Lisa, and later John Charles Fremont with Kit Carson at his side began to discover and record the wonders of this bountiful and lonely land it was far from empty. Here was the home of the buffalo, the wolf, and prairie dog. They lived in a harmony of survival with their brothers the Wichita, Pawnee, Kansa, and the Osage people who were later joined by the Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Comanches. Some of the first white men on the plains were missionaries who, like all creatures, brought both good and bad to the plains. Homesteaders built sod houses and raised their crops and children in this wind-blown, wildflower scented world where prairie fires killed, grasshoppers devoured, and crops grew taller and more abundant than could ever be dreamed. Here, from the earth of the prairie, grew broad expanses of grasses that fed the buffalo until hide hunters nearly depleted them. Then those same grasses fattened longhorns being driven northward from Texas to the wild and lawless cow towns and railheads in Kansas and Missouri. These towns drew not only cowboys but gamblers, outlaws with lawmen on their trails, and "soiled doves" to the rows of saloons that lined the streets in such places as Abilene, Dodge City, and Sedalia.

Saint Louis, Missouri – Where the American West Began

What other American city can claim to having been under Spanish, French, and American rule all within the space of twenty-four hours? Also, had...

The Lone Prairie

Lone? You mean, as in “Lonely?” Come and I’ll show you that the prairie is anything but lonely. No, we are not going to...

Zebulon Pike to Santa Fe

In 1806 William Morrison, a Kaskaskia, Illinois merchant, sent United States Army Lieutenant Zebulon Pike to explore the Arkansas and Red Rivers. Pike’s mission...

Prairie Dog Town

On May 20, 1804 Captain Meriwether Lewis wrote in his journal that he was on his way. He was referring to the Lewis and...

Rebecca’s Apron

“Yes, that’s right. I am Rebecca Bryan’s cambric apron. I guess you could say I was born, actually sewn, in 1755. Rebecca made me...

Immigrants – Native and New

The Missouri River courses 547 mile through an ancient land now called South Dakota. Along this mighty river’s Dakota shores Mound Builders left traces...

Earthquake in the Year 1811

If they didn’t hurry away from New Madrid, Missouri the ground was going to eat them alive! This was how people felt after the...

Ghost on the Plains

The harvest moon is waning. Buffalo meat as well as squash, pumpkins, and corn have been harvested and stored away for food during the...

Thank You, Mr. Bonaparte

Thanks to Napoleon Bonaparte, and other historical notables, our birthplaces might be determined by when we were born. The way I see it, Bonaparte started...

Kit Carson – The Runaway Boy

When Kit Carson ran away from his employer David Workman, in 1826, the man put a price on Kit’s head in the amount of...
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