The vast territory between the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean was once the Far West, beyond the frontier, the Indian country—the unknown. Beyond the great river which bounded it on the east was a fringe of settlements. Scattered through the more distant country were the trading-posts to which the trapper brought his furs. Gold was discovered in California, and a wild rush of people anxious to better their condition had started across the plains, bound for the distant Eldorado. Along these deep-worn roads were the graves of those who had perished on the way; sometimes mere mounds of earth, hardly showing on the level prairie, or perhaps marked by a bit of board thrust in the ground, bearing a pencilled name and date, which the winter’s storms would soon obliterate. Gold was then discovered in the Rocky Mountains. The village of Denver was established, and along the mountain streams the prospector worked with pick and shovel and pan, and wore away his strength and his courage in hunting for gold. Montana also began to yield gold, and Salmon River and Alder Gulch were at the beginnings of their fame. Stages were running across the continent, and the pony express was established. The accounts in the following pages deal with that country, then unknown, and the explorers who penetrated it. It deals with exploration, hunting, the taking of fur, and Indians in peace and war.