Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Jim Bridger was one of the greatest explorers, pathfinders, and mountain men in American history.  He was among the first European Americans to see the natural wonders of Yellowstone.  When he was 20, Bridger was the first white man to see Utah's Great Salt Lake.  In 1842 he established a trading post on Blacks Fork in Wyoming called Fort Bridger.  This post later became a vital resupply point for wagon trains on the Oregon Trail, California Trail and Mormon Trail.  One of the foremost trappers in the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, Jim Bridger is a timeless legend. He remains one of the most important scouts and guides in the history of the West.

Bridger was also a renowned story teller. During the annual rendezvous, a trapper's highlight of the year, he would amaze his listeners with stories about his adventures.  Bridger had the ability to mesmerize Indians as well as white men with his tall tales. On one occasion a Captain Howard Stansbury was amazed to see him keep a circle of Sioux and Cheyenne intrigued for over an hour with a tall tale that was told completely in sign language.

Jim Bridger is memorialized by the Bridger Wilderness area located in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.  Originally established in 1931 as a primitive area, the 428,169 acre region was re-designated as a wilderness in 1964 and expanded to the current size in 1984.


  1. Given the mention of Jim Bridger and the fur trade in your blog, I wanted to let you know about my upcoming book, FUR, FORTUNE, AND EMPIRE: THE EPIC HISTORY OF THE FUR TRADE IN AMERICA (W. W. Norton, July 2010). A video that gives an overview of the book can be found on YouTube at,

    You can also find out more about the book at my website:

  2. Thanks Eric. I just watched the video and it looks like a great read. Good luck with the release!