As a small and unique cultural subset of the U.S. population in the early 1800’s, Mountain men distinguished themselves by forging into the wilderness between St. Louis and California. They mapped the rivers and mountains, established relations with Indian populations, saw unimaginable sights, survived uncivilized conditions and experienced incredible adventures.
When the energy of the nation was focused on westward expansion, the Mountain Man was at the forefront of that expansion and consciousness. Subsequently, who and what they were become distorted until today popular knowledge holds, as truth, multiple misconceptions. It did not help matters that Mountain Men were also masters of spinning tales. Many an experience was embellished into a larger than life story that made it into the books of American history.
Some of these misconceptions include:
- Mountain men always have beards
- Mountain men were solitary and loners
- Mountain men softened their leather by first chewing it
- Mountain men cheated the Indians by trading worthless trinkets for valuable furs
- Mountain men were illiterate
What are some myths/legends you may have heard? Post them on our face book page.