Tyler's Red River Carts

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History of the Red River Cart!

The Red River cart was a large two-wheeled cart made entirely of non-metallic materials. Often drawn by oxen, though also by horses or mules, these carts were used throughout most of the 19th century in the fur trade and in westward expansion in Canada and the United States, in the area of the Red River and on the plains west of the Red River Colony. The cart was a simple piece of transportation. The carts made their first appearance in 1801 at Fort Pembina.

Description of the Red River Cart!

Because nails were unavailable or very expensive in the early West, these carts contained no iron at all, being entirely constructed of wood and animal hide. The cart could be floated across streams, yet it was strong enough to carry loads as heavy as 1000 lbs. Two 12-foot-long parallel oak shafts bracketed the draft animal in front and formed the frame of the cart to the rear. Crosspieces held the floorboards, and front, side and rear boards or rails enclosed the box. These wooden pieces were joined by mortices and tenons. Also of seasoned oak was the axle, lashed to the cart by strips of bison hide attached when wet, which shrunk and tightened as they dried. The axles connected two spoked wheels, five or six feet in diameter, which were in the form of a shallow cone, the apex of which was at the hub.


*One of the earliest vehicles for moving trade goods.

*It can be easily built because it is made entirely of wood.

*It can haul up to 1,000 lbs.

* The carts can be linked using bison hide to form a wagon train up to ten carts long.


*Very Noisy and slow.

*Pulled by an ox.

* The carts would have breaking wheels and getting stuck in the sand or mud.

* The carts couldn’t haul items long distances.

* The carts were often raided by highwaymen.

Who invented the Red River Cart?

The cart was invented by the Metis (mixed blood-Indian & European)

Importance and Impact to North Dakota...

With Red River Carts as a form of transportation now, it opened up an easier way to transport goods, haul freight, and trade easier. Doing this also opened more trading posts and trade routes. So, people had an easier way to get their goods and transport their goods.
Red River Carts