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Rocky Mountain Rendezvous: A History of The Fur Trade 1825 - 1840 Paperback – March 2, 2005

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Contents Maps Photographs Preface Introduction Randavouze Creek Rendezvous, 1825 Map Information Willow Valley Rendezvous, 1826 Sweet Lake Rendezvous, 1827, Sweet Lake Rendezvous, 1828 Popp Agie--Pierre's Hole Rendezvous, 1829, Wind River Rendezvous, 1830 Willow Valley Rendezvous, 1831 Pierre's Hole Rendezvous, 1832 Green River Rendezvous, 1833 Hams's Fork Rendezvous, 1834 Green River Rendezvous, 1835 Green River Rendezvous, 1836 Green River Rendezvous, 1837 Wind River Rendezvous, 1838 Green River Rendezvous, 1839 Green River Rendezvous, 1840 Appendix Footnotes Selected Bibliography Index --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

An all-new, redesigned edition of the original classic on the fur-trading rendezvous that took place from 1825 to 1840 in the Central Rockies. These rendezvous were originally commercial gatherings where furs were traded for necessities such as traps, guns, horses, and other supplies. But more and more they became rich social events at which all kinds of human emotion were on display.
Carefully crafted and compiled from primary sources, Rocky Mountain Rendezvous includes fascinating text by Fred R. Gowans accompanied by firsthand accounts of the rendezvous from scientists, artists, military personnel, government explorers, and missionaries. The descriptions are illustrated with maps, photographs, and drawings.
"For fur-trade scholars the book is important as a guide to rendezvous sites. For casual readers or newcomers to Western history, it serves as a fine introduction to a hard time in a hard country--a time that today is covered with a patina of romance." --The American West
"Gowans clearly knows the lore of the Rocky Mountain beaver trade." --Western American Literature
Fred R. Gowans, one of the leading scholars of the American fur trade, has honed his craft for over forty years. As professor of history and chair of the Native American Studies program at Brigham Young University, he researched and interpreted every facet of western expansion. He is a renowned lecturer, teacher, and mentor of new generations of researchers.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Gibbs Smith (March 2, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586857568
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586857561
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #829,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a good resource book for anyone interested in the Fur Trade period of the old West (1825-1840). The Rocky Mountain rendezvous was a uniquely American creation whereby supplies were brought from St. Louis to the fur trappers working the streams in the Far West, thus eliminating their need to come down from the mountains to re-supply, wasting much valuable time. A site and time (usually early July) were prearranged and trappers, Indians, traders, and travelers made it a point to gather at the rendezvous.

Gowans describes each rendezvous that occurred, from the first in 1825 on Henry's Fork in southwest Wyoming to the last in 1840 at the often-selected Green River site near Daniel, Wyoming. Who was there, what business was conducted, impressions and incidents are all dealt with, many as revealed in journals and diaries of the participants. The famous Pierre's Hole fight with the Blackfeet as the 1832 rendezvous was breaking up is recounted in detail, as is the time Jim Bridger had an arrowhead removed from his back by Dr. Marcus Whitman at the 1835 gathering on the Green.

Gowans is particularly interested in locating the exact spot of each rendezvous as best as can be determined by contemporary accounts. For many of them he shows a map and photographs of what the site looks like today. The book also indexes all the names mentioned in the text, and contains a fairly detailed bibliography as well. The yearly rendezvous was fur trader and entrepreneur William Ashley's invention, a brilliant idea, and Gowans focuses on their actual locations and tells what went on at each one in this informative and entertaining book. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To the novice of the fur trade era, this is a wonderful book. For the more experienced reader of this time period, it is a good review of the many names and places which shaped the early American West. Along with timely excerpts from a multitude of diaries, journals, narratives and books, the author also includes numerous maps, drawings and art work replications from the famous western painter Alfred Jacob Miller to depict these annual gatherings. The book is in a chronological time order, beginning with the first rendezvous of 1825 and culminating with the last event of its kind in 1840. It was as much a pleasure to read as I'm sure it would have been to experience these yearly social occasions.
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Format: Paperback
This book presents a good review of the Rendezvous system of the fur trade in the far west. When reading, it would be helpful for the reader to develop a flowchart of the various companies and personnel associated with the fur trade -- and how and where they interact. This book provides a good supplement to the information available for students of the American fur trade era.
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Format: Hardcover
A must read for the mountain man lover !! lots of tall tales, stories, and interesting information about this obscure time period... when men were men..
and sheep were food !! along with dogs, cats, snakes, and ANYTHING that moved.
Even the soles of your moccasins were up for dinner if you got desperate enough !!
The country was young and unspoiled, the men were as tough as the indians, and scalped THEM , as well as any enemies, you had to fight just to "keep your hair"
This is a must have volume for fur trade buffs !!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author gives a very clear and direct history of each Rendezvous, and to those with only a little(but some) understanding of the subject, it is very helpful. After reading this book you will come away with a clearer understanding of the Rendezvous than you will after reading Mr De Voto's rather oblique account. De Voto seems to assume his reader is well versed in Americana already, which may not be the case with a non American .
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Format: Paperback
I used this book when researching Tribes and Trappers, and it taught me quite a bit.

There were two main types of mountain men, the company man and the free agent. Still, both company men and free agents operated through the company rendezvous system that sprang up to cater to their needs, and their companies'.

The company man worked for one of the fur companies, and he had to accept whatever price they would give him for his furs. The company man also often found himself taking orders from company representatives and agents, either by telling him where to go or which specific furs to focus upon. The free agent was beholden to none but the market, and could seek out the best price he could find.

The price of the furs was often set by the company, and at lower-than-market rates. At the first rendezvous held in 1825, William H. Ashley of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company paid $3.00 for a pound of beaver furs to men that had been working for him for some time, and $2.00 per pound to those who joined him around 1822-1823, most likely because or a prearranged agreement.

Those mountain men that were able to operate as free agents, however, received $5.00 per pound. Based on the amount of furs that came out of the first rendezvous, we can determine that one fur weighed about 1.64 pounds, and was worth $4.92 if sold at $3.00 per pound. Free agents were therefore getting $8.20 for the same work that company men were doing.
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