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Westward Family In Covered Wagon C. 1886
In 1886, a pioneer family stops their westward progression and doffs their hats for a photographer on the prairie of Loup Valley, Nebraska.
A transcontinental wagon journey was fraught with danger. Fifty thousand perished from disease, road agent, and indian attack out of 500,000 who made the westward migration. A typical wagon could do 12 to 15 miles a day and the full journey often took up to 6 months. Food, water, and wood for cooking and warmth were always scarce. And, watering holes had to be approached with care as they were often contaminated.
The young man on the right appears to have a Henry-Winchester type repeating rifle and a bandolier belt with some huge cartridges on it. He's ready for trouble ... and might have some inclination in 1886 that the journey is dangerous. There is another similar rifle racked on the wagon hoop struts that hold the canvas.
If this family has California on their mind, then they are guaranteed an arduous trek as it was the most difficult route of all the westward trails.
October 21st, 2012
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