The "Wagon Train" to Hell... Crossing the Continent

I'm in the middle of reading a western.
Steven Malone's,  Sideshow at HoneyCreek

I don't read too many westerns and find it a treat, I'll be giving a review on it when I'm finished but first it got me thinking...  

About "Wagon Trains" and the hardships people endured crossing the country in them.

When I think of hardships, I think about being without my cell phone and the batteries running out! Or sitting on the john and you realize there's no toilet paper left. 

Now that is a hardship I don't want anyone to endure, but a...

A Wagon Train


What could be so hard than sitting on a wagon, enjoy the vistas as they slowly pass?

I thought about it...

There were no roads.  Maybe a trail here and there and it might be a little bumpy.  The time it would take, say from St. Louis to San Francisco, it's been figured out already, one year and four months.  I was amazed, it took that long. 

I thought again, about the fact of having no road and how bumpy a ride that would be.

You took with you what you would needed. A family per wagon. All your supplies to last the next year and half. Remember that's one wagon. I could fill that up with two weeks worth of toilet paper, it's not that big.

Could you imagine a family of seven, two adults and four children and one baby. Yes, you heard right, a baby! All sleeping inside. The mosquitoes! All suffering from consumption. Nothing like the luxury RV's cruising todays highways, with toilets and running water.

Interior of a covered wagon

Crossing the desert.  How long did that take? The Rockies, up and down, for miles and miles, in all kinds of weather. Rain, sleet and snow, lots of it. Blizzards! Remember a covered wagon. No central air. No TV let alone computer. Remember no roads!

It's not politically correct now-a-days to mention the savage, wild Native Indians that roamed the prairies collecting white men's scalps. That's another story. But it really happened, except it was also the white man that collected the Natives scalps. 

Whites were even paid for their efforts. So much per scalp! It wasn't very much either, but it put supper on the table for a few starving white hunters. I'm getting off topic here!

A year and four months, that's through the four different seasons. Spring would bring mud and disease, summer would bring the heat and mosquitoes, fall would bring flu and sickness, winter would bring the cold and snow and starvation. 

You'd start eating the horses, then what?

The diseases from strange water. Crapping yourself to death with consumption. With no toilet paper! The whole family. Not a pretty sight!

Makes me think of my father and my mother when they would say, "When we were kids, we walked 5 miles back and forth to school, in the middle of snow storms, dead of winter with no shoes."

I never believed them.

Maybe I should have! 

Dog Brindle


wenlaine said...

Over the years, I've read many books, stories and accounts of early settlements in Canadian history. I always feel so blessed to have been born in this day and age.

Michael Estey said...

Aren't we lucky. People will think the same thing a hundred years from now. Boy, they were backwards back in 2013. lol