The Oregon Trail

July 12, 2019
Francis Parkman
photo by
Aaron Huber
on unsplash

Tonight, we'll be reading from a book called, "The Oregon Trail: Sketches of Prairie and Rocky-Mountain Life" by Francis Parkman. It was originally serialized in Knickerbocker's Magazine and subsequently published as a book in 1849. The account of a summer tour of the High Plains of Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, and Kansas met with the acclaim of early reviewers like Herman Melville, who, though he on the whole lauded the book for "the true wild-game flavor," complained of its demeaning presentation of Native Americans and its misleading title. Parkman's excursion led him only along the first third, the flat stretch of the 2,100 mile trail; he never saw the cruelest parts across the mountains and deserts.