The Mountain Men of the American West

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The Mountain Men What are the Mountain men? The Mountain Men are trappers are explorers who roamed amongst the north of Rocky Mountains, east America. Here was where they would gather fur for trade in Oregon and California beyond the Rocky Mountains. Later they also began to guide pioneers from the west through the mountains. Fur trade: The mountain men thrived of off the fur trade. Many were employed by fur companies, or sold their fur to the whom offered the most money. There were two essential two realms of the fur trade industries, “Rocky Mountain Fur Trade” and “Upper Missouri”. The Upper Missouri worked quite differently from the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade. They required Native Americans to bring buffalo skins to trading points, from there the fur was sent down to St.Louis via the river. Yet for the R.M.F.T, the fur they purchased was of the Beaver, trapped by the mountain men travelling among company groups. The pelts were sold at an annually rendezvous*, from here the fur would be transferred to cities via mule train and wagon to be sold. This system allowed the mountain men to stay in the wilderness year round, as they did not have to travel to a trading post to sell their catch. Depending on the terrain, available capital and the nearby Indians attitudes, fur companies would often use both methods of fur trade. The Fur companies were essential to the way of life that was lived by the Mountain Men. They provided the mountain men with the economic system and often initial capital that was necessary to the trapper’s life. Yet as they also helped for the trapper to operate, they also had control over him. They were a slave to the fur market, created by the competition between companies. “Engages” were trappers that were supplied and salaried by the company, the furs collected by them were company property, and could not be sold to anyone else.

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