Rocky Mountain Fur Trade
- Fur Trade and Rendezvous of Green River Valley edited by Fred R. Gowans & Brenda Francis (Pinedale, Wyoming: Museum of the Mountain Man and Sublette County Historical Society, 2005) – A good introduction to the people, places, and events of the Rocky Mountain fur trade era. Click to purchase!
- Rocky Mountain Rendezvous by Fred R. Gowans (Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith, 2005) – Originally published in 1976, this is the best book on the famous fur trade rendezvous from 1825-1840, including extensive quotes from primary sources. Click here to purchase!
- Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal edited by Jim Hardee (Pinedale, Wyoming: Museum of the Mountain Man, 2007-2015) – Annual peer-reviewed publication with the best of the most recent research of the Rocky Mountain fur trade era covering a wide variety of subjects. See below for a list of selected articles related to the Hugh Glass story. Click here to purchase!
- The Fur Trade of the American West 1807-1840 by David J. Wishart (Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1979). A complete and readable description of the mechanics of the western American fur trade, this is a good book to start with.
- James Clyman: Frontiersman edited by Charles Camp (San Francisco, California: California Historical Society, 1928) – A great first-hand account of daily life of a mountain man in the early years (1920s) of the Rocky Mountain fur trade. Out of print it can be found on the used market, but is also available in digital form for free online.
- Journal of a Trapper edited by Aubrey Haines (Lincoln, Nebraska: Bison Books 1965) – A great first-hand account of daily life of a mountain man in the early 1830 by Osborn Russell. Click here to purchase!
- The Saga of Hugh Glass by John Myers Myers (Lincoln, Nebraska: Bison Books, 1976) – Originally published as Pirate, Pawnee, & Mountain Man in 1963, this is still the best-published analysis of the Hugh Glass story. Click here to purchase!
- Mountain Man & Grizzly by Fred R. Gowans (Orem, Utah: Mountain Grizzly Publications, 1986). A comprehensive listing of known mountain man and grizzly encounters in the American West. The book is out of print, but can found on the used market.
- The Arikara War: The First Plains Indian War, 1823 by William R. Nester (Missoula, MT: The Mountain Press, 2001). The Arikara War had causes that predated and repercussions long after the summer of 1823. This book is a good overview.
- William H. Ashley: Enterprise and Politics in the Trans-Mississippi West by Richard M. Clokey (Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990). A well-researched and written biography of William Ashley. It is presents a very thorough and documented account of his fur trade years.
- Jim Bridger by J. Cecil Alter (Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1962). This book was originally published in 1925 and updated in 1950. The material is dated and a new biography of Jim Bridger is needed, but this is the best available biography. Click here to purchase!
- Jedediah Smith and the Opening of the West by Dale L. Morgan (Lincoln, Nebraska: Bison Books, 1964). A well-researched, documented, and written biography of Jedediah Smith’s life and adventures based on the available information at the time of its writing. Click here to purchase!
- Andrew Henry – The best information published to date on Andrew Henry is a two-part essay published in Montana Magazine of Western History. White, Linda Harper and Gowans, Fred R. “Traders to Trappers: Andrew Henry and the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade,” Montana: The Magazine of Western History, V. 43, No. 1, and No. 3 Winter/Summer 1993.
Reference & Research
- Mountain Men and the Fur Trade of the Far West edited by LeRoy R. Hafen (Glendale, California: Arthur H. Clark Company, 1965-1972). This ten-volume set is an encyclopedia of the mountain man era. The original as well as a reprinted set from 2001-2003 are available on the used market.
- West of William H. Ashley by Dale L. Morgan (Denver, Colorado: The Old West Publishing Company, 1964). Morgan collected and has reproduced most of the significant primary sources related to the founding of the Rocky Mountain fur trade and Ashley’s involvement. It is out of print and available on the used market.
- Mountain Men and the Fur Trade (mtmen.org) is an on-line Research Center by the American Mountain Men devoted to the history, traditions, tools, and mode of living, of the trappers, explorers, and traders known as the Mountain Men. It is the best online collection of primary documentation of the fur trade.
- AlfredJacobMiller.com (Ricketts Art Foundation, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, and Museum of the Mountain Man). Alfred Jacob Miller is the only artist to attend and paint one of the original Rocky Mountain rendezvous (1837). This website has made available over 200 (and growing) high resolution Miller images that can be zoomed in great detail and explored for research.
Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal
Selected article related to Hugh Glass story
Volume 2 – 2008
- The Legend of Jedediah Smith: Fact, Fantasy and Opinion by James C. Auld – Mr. Auld challenges the devout, Bible-toting Christian image developed of Jedediah Smith. In the process he touches on the letter written by Hugh Glass to the family of John Gardner after the Arikara Battle and whether Jedediah Smith delivered the prayer mentioned in the letter.
- Trappers’ Cache: Trade Goods, Equipment and Clothing of the William Ashley and Jedediah Smith Trapping Ventures by Clay Landry. Using original records, Mr. Landry details the type of items and prices of supplies used to outfit the Rocky Mountain trapping enterprises of the early 1820s.
- “To Preserve Peace on the Frontiers:” Federal Regulation and the Fur Trade by Dr. Brad Tennant – Dr. Tennant explores the attempts at federal regulation of trade with native tribes on the early frontier including the factory system (government trading posts) whose repeal spurred private ventures, including the partnership of Henry-Ashley, that headed up the Missouri in 1822. The article also touches on the Arikara trade and hostilities that culminated in the Arikara War of 1823.
Volume 5 – 2011
- Tracking Jim Bridger: Finding the Trail of Old Gabe by Jerry Enzler – Mr. Enzler explores several aspects Jim Bridger’s life that have been accepted, but need further analysis. This includes questioning whether Jim Bridger was one of the two men who abandoned Hugh Glass.
- “A Life Wild and Perilous”: Death in the Far West among Trappers and Traders by James Hannon Jr. – Mr. Hannon has compiled 314 confirm trapper and trader deaths in the mountains and uses that database to analyze frequency and types of deaths, including death by grizzly bear.
- An 1824-1825 Columbia Fur Trade Ledger by Jim Hardee – Mr. Hardee reveals a newly discovered trade ledger from James Kipp’s Columbia Fur Company trading house near Fort Tilton in 1824-1825. The 15 men whose transactions show in the ledger were contemporaries of Hugh Glass. The ledgers show the type of trade items trappers were using at the time.
Volume 7 – 2013
- Arikara Niituníšu’ Beliefs and the Fur Trade by Dr. Mark van de Logt – Dr. van de Logt explores the Arikara belief in “evil medicine” and how that might have shaped the often hostile relationship with trappers and traders traveling the early Missouri River including an analysis of the roots of the Arikara War of 1823.
- Commerce in the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade: Two 1830 Promissory Notes by Clay Landry – Mr. Landry explores the financial history of two promissory notes written at the 1830 rendezvous, which are now housed at the Museum of the Mountain Man. One of the men, Johnson Gardner, was a friend of Hugh Glass on the upper Missouri in the early 1830s. Mr. Landry details how Gardner avenges Glass’ death in 1833 at the hands of the Arikara.