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Starting The Trek 19
Franky's Ordeal 31
The Notorious Forty-mile Desert 51
Lost in the Desert 59
Land of the Mormons 73
Crossing The Plains During The Indian Versus Army War 95
Hazards Avoided While Crossing Indian Country 127
Traveling East by Rail 185
Back to Civilization 191
Niagara Falls and The German Engineered Suspension Bridge Between Canada and the USA 199
On to New York City and Washington, DC 205
Posted March 3, 2011
Robert R. Schmidt's The Nevadan: The True Story of One Man's Journey Across the American Frontier captures Johann Schmidt's memorable journey from Virginia City, Nevada to the East Coast during the developmental stages of the American West. An American pioneer at heart, Johann's diary chronicles his adventures crossing the desert-country of Nevada and Utah, the Continental Divide, the mountains of Wyoming and Colorado, the plains of Nebraska and Kansas, the Missouri River, and then on to the nation's capital and other eastern cities. He documents encounters with predatory and other wildlife; all the stage, pony express and telegraph stations, with miles between each, both east and west. Johann used whatever he could find for food, transportation, shelter and communication.
After reading The Nevadan, there is little doubt that this would make for an amazing cinematic experience on the big screen. The author has, in fact, recently submitted it to The Motion Picture Company, Inc. in Burbank, CA. for its consideration. For those interested, the original diary of Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Schmidt is preserved as an artifact, in High German, of the Old West in the University of Nevada Reno Library's special collections department.
The journey begins on October 9th, 1866 with an all-encompassing list of equipment and clothing-in the introduction of the book-that includes a Spencer rifle, two six-shot revolvers, woolen blankets, a dagger, and much more. Setting off on Franky, his horse, Johann starts across Nevada, at which point Franky becomes deathly ill. Johann does not take the advice to just shoot him, and his determination to keep Franky alive results in both of them continuing his journey across Nevada and the notorious forty- mile desert. While crossing the desert, they proceed to get lost and must contend with rattlers and wildlife, all with a shortage of water for himself and Franky. The book is filled with similar stories. A powerful passage portraying Johann's resolve, despite grim circumstances, states, "For twenty-four hours more I journeyed on without food or water, but I hadn't given up yet."
The book describes in detail his travels from entering the land of the Mormons, crossing the American Frontier during conflicts between Native Americans and the Army, traveling east on the railroad, and his arrivals in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C.
Ultimately, The Nevadan: The True Story of One Man's Journey Across the American Frontier is a remarkable account of a journey full of peril that culminates in a true sense of accomplishment. Despite being in diary-format, The Nevadan reads smoothly like a narrative, and will please all explorer/adventure and American history aficionados.