Building Faith Through Church History

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Season 2 Episode 16 Life on the Trail Part 1


What was it like to come across the plains as part of a wagon company. This is that story.


Between 1847 and 1868, tens of thousands of Latter-day Saints crossed the overland trail to Utah. There is no one great story that describes each person’s journey. We have an excellent record of the trail due to the many diaries that were kept. Each company of emigrants had an experienced frontiersman as its captain. The captain was the decision-maker for the company. Emigrants generally had to learn and adjust to life on the trail. The buffalo was one of the great wonders of the trail. The companies were a literal community on the move with livestock and pets as part of the company. Rules were strictly enforced and music and dancing were common evening activities. Women tended to preserve as much of domestic normality as possible. Bathing on the plains was an art. Mosquitoes were a terrible pest. Weather on the high plains was a force to be reckoned with.


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