Questions & Answers About the Oregon Trail
These trail facts may be downloaded for personal reading convenience or to be used in the classroom. For all other uses you must first obtain permission.
How many emigrants followed the trails to California, the Pacific Northwest, and Utah?
How long was the journey from the Missouri
- How long was the journey from the Missouri "jumping off" place to California or Oregon?
Other questions to ponder: How long did the trek take, on the average? How long did emigrants "lay by" after arriving at the Missouri River before beginning the trek west? When did travel on the Oregon-California Trail begin? Which type of draft animals were most frequently used by overlanders?
How severe was the threat of Indian attack during the first half of the journey west?
- How severe was the threat of Indian attack during the first half of the journey west?
- On what part of the Oregon-California Trail were emigrants most at risk from Indians?
Other questions to read and ponder: Were any white wagon train emigrants ever massacred by Indians? How many emigrants were killed by Indians and vice versa? Many emigrant diaries note the sighting of buffalo. Does anyone know just how many bison actually did exist before whites penetrated the American west?
- What types of non-hostile interactions took place between the Indians and emigrants?
If they traded, what were some of the things that they traded?
Most accounts describing life on the trail indicate that accidents were an ever-present possibility.
Timber was noticeably absent on the Platte-Sweetwater route.
- Timber was noticeably absent on the Platte-Sweetwater route.
Read about other questions and ponder: Just how effective as fuel were the buffalo chips most emigrants used as a substitute? Emigrants traveling the south side of the Platte River through central Nebraska had to ford to the South Platte somewhere beyond the forks of the Platte. In terms of present towns, where did they cross? What kind of a load did the average wagon carry? What kind of provisions, daily menu and fuel predominated on the trail?