The Oregon Trail: A Journey of Hardship and Hope

1. Introduction

In mid-1840s, a farmer’s wife travelling with her husband and children along the Oregon Trail wrote a letter to a friend. The journey was full of difficulties, such as stampedes, windstorms, and savages, but it was also calm at times and good in many ways. The family had to camp often, and the wife particularly enjoyed the sheet-iron stove that they had brought with them. At the end of the journey, they settled in the Willamette Valley, where they built a farmhouse and started a new life.

2. The journey

2.1 The start of the journey

The journey started in Missouri in May 1845. The family travelled with a covered wagon pulled by four oxen. They had supplies for six months and planned to reach Oregon in October.

The first few days were calm and went well. But on the third day, they were caught in a stampede caused by a herd of buffalo. Their wagon was overturned, and some of their supplies were lost. They had to camp for a day to collect themselves and their belongings.

2. 2 Difficulties along the way

The journey was difficult in many ways. There were stampedes, windstorms, and savages to contend with. But there were also calm times and good moments.

The family had to camp often, and the wife particularly enjoyed the sheet-iron stove that they had brought with them. It was very useful for cooking and keeping warm at night.

At one point, they were attacked by a group of savages. The husband was able to fight them off, but he was injured in the process. The family had to camp for a few days until he recovered enough to travel again.

2. 3 The end of the journey

The journey ended in October 1845, when they reached the Willamette Valley in Oregon. They settled there and built a farmhouse. They started a new life, far away from their old home in Missouri.

3. Post-journey life

Life after the journey was good for the family. They prospered on their farm and had many children. The wife continued to correspond with her friend back in Missouri, and she regularly told her about all the latest news from Oregon.

4 Conclusion Travelling along the Oregon Trail was difficult but also good in many ways. It was an adventure that changed the course of the family’s life forever


The Oregon Trail was a 2,170-mile long East-West route used by American pioneers in the mid-19th century to migrate to the western United States. The trail stretched from Missouri all the way to Oregon's Willamette Valley.

One of the main reasons settlers chose to travel along the Oregon Trail was because it was significantly cheaper than other forms of transportation at the time, such as taking a ship around Cape Horn or travelling across Panama. Additionally, the trip along the trail only took around six months, whereas sailing around Cape Horn could take up to a year.

Some of the challenges faced by those who travelled along the Oregon Trail include difficult weather conditions (e.g., extreme heat in summer and cold in winter), disease, scarce water and food supplies, and attacks from Native Americans.

The Oregon Trail had a significant impact on American history and settlement patterns as it opened up new areas of land for settlement west of the Rocky Mountains. Additionally, it helped contribute to America's Manifest Destiny ideology (i.e., belief that America had a divine right to expand its territory from coast to coast).

Today, the Oregon Trail is significant in American folklore and popular culture due to its status as one of America's most famous pioneer trails. It has been featured in numerous books, movies, television shows, video games, etc., over the years