The Great Medicine Road, Part 4
Narratives of the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails, 1856–1869
Edited by Michael L. Tate, Contributions by Kerin Tate, Will Bagley, Richard Rieck
$45.00 Hardcover


Between 1841 and 1866, more than a half-million people followed trails to Oregon, California, and Utah in one of the largest mass migrations in American history. The Great Medicine Road, Part 4 collects the letters, diaries, and reminiscences of some of the emigrants who made this journey between 1856 and 1869, as a second generation of miners, farmers, town builders, and religious believers turned their adventurous eyes westward in search of new beginnings.

Here, in their own words, are the experiences of young men hoping to make their fortunes in mining operations that had sprung up as the gold rush wore down, in California but also now in the silver mines of Nevada’s Comstock Lode and the recently discovered gold mines of Colorado’s Denver and Pike’s Peak regions. Here also are families and farmers looking for land in the fertile Willamette Valley of Oregon, or joining the Mormon community in Utah. And here are the stories of intrepid sojourners traveling with—or without—military escorts as the Civil War, conflicts with Indians, and the Mormon stand against the U.S. government altered the circumstances of westward traffic.

These documents, with an introduction and editorial notes written by historian Michael L. Tate to provide context and commentary, comprise the fourth and final installment in a documentary history of the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails. They give a living voice to the history of the American experience at a time of westward expansion and profound, unprecedented change.

About The Author
Michael L. Tate is Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, and author of The Frontier Army in the Settlement of the West and Indians and Emigrants: Encounters on the Overland Trail.
Will Bagley is an independent historian who has written about overland emigration, frontier violence, railroads, mining, and the Mormons. Bagley has published extensively over the years and is the author and editor of many books, articles, and reviews in professional journals. Bagley is the series editor of Arthur H. Clark Company's documentary history series, KINGDOM IN THE WEST: The Mormons and the American Frontier. Bagley has been a Wallace Stegner Centennial Fellow at the University of Utah and the Archibald Hanna, Jr. Fellow in American History at Yale University's Beinecke Library. Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows has won numerous awards including a Spur Award from Western Writers of America, the Bancroft History Prize from the Denver Public Library, Westerners International Best Book, and the Western History Association Caughey Book Prize for the most distinguished book on the history of the American West. So Rugged and Mountainous: Blazing the Trails to Oregon and California, 1812-1848 is the first of four volumes of Overland West: The Story of the Oregon and California Trails Series.
Richard Rieck is Professor Emeritus of Geography at Western Illinois University.
Book Information
18 b&w illus., 4 maps
328 Pages
Hardcover 978-0-87062-434-6
Kindle 978-0-8061-6655-1
e-pub 978-0-8061-6677-3
Published May 2020
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