The Oregon Trail

Facing challenges and dangers along the trail

The immigrants and settlers were strong people but sometimes the trail got the best of them. So did Indian tribes.

The prairie heat, the freezing cold and blizzards could not stop the immigrants from going anywhere. Neither did Mountain Lions, Grizzly bears, starvation and even death. Nothing could stop these immigrants. About 35,000 people died on the way though. They buried the dead deep in the ground so that Indians couldn’t take their clothing and wolves couldn’t eat the rest of the lifeless body. Sometimes the people were saved because of doctors. Marcus Whitman was a doctor who helped mountain men get arrowheads out of themselves. He also cared for the sick. But in November of 1847 a terrible case of the measles wiped out half of the Cayuse tribe. They blamed Dr. Whitman and they murdered him even though he was the trying to save them.

There were a lot of problems and challenges. But the immigrants fought through it.

Many Oxen became sick or exhausted. Alkali water killed many Oxen. It was full of chemicals and salts that burned the animals insides. If you shoved vinegar and loads of bacon down the animals throat it may have been saved. A lot of wagons slowed down because they were running out of oxen. But when they did have oxen, mountains were still a huge challenge. It was easy for the Oxen to go up but when the wagons come down, they can easily tip over and that’s what usually happened.The immigrants always drank coffee. So did the animals. That’s because they didn’t like the plain water and sometimes it was polluted or muddy. Even the animals hated drinking it.
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Oxen

These cow like creatures are oxen. Oxen were usually the ones that pulled the covered wagons across the country. They had a huge responsibility.

Even though there were a lot of deaths, there were solutions to stop it from happening. Like the Ferries and the doctors.

Crossing rivers and lakes was a huge challenge. It took them a couple of days to get everyone and everything across. But most of the wagons made it because they had ferries. Ferries were huge wooden like rafts that held at least two wagons at a time. The Ferries helped carry the covered wagons across the rivers. If they didn’t have one, they probably wouldn’t make it. Lots of diaries said that a lot of little children fell out of the wagon a were crushed by the wagon wheels. They also said that Indians would always try and steel their livestock.The most common way of immigrants dying was the diseases. Like the Measles, typhoid, and Mountain fever. These are just a few. But a lot of people and animals were saved with the help of doctors. Doctors were probably the only way to cure the diseases. Doctors save the day!