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Soon after the Revolutionary War, a movement was made to explore the Appalachians, west of the original colonies on the Eastern Coast of the United States. By 1843, a new movement had begun; this one would later be known as the greatest migration in American history. Ending in places such as Oregon, and Utah and even as far west as California, this journey began in Missouri and was traveled along what is known as The Oregon Trail.

In 1843 more than one thousand people, seeking to find farmland in the West, gathered near the bend in the Missouri River in preparation for the trip. Solid in their determination to find land and make homes, these pioneers were prepared for the very long and dangerous journey that would take them from their homes in the mid-west to the 'promised land' of the far west.

The trail that would enable them to make such a journey began in Missouri, and ran across to the Platte River at Fort Kearney, Oregon, which was built to protect and outfit the settlers once having reached their destination. Once there, they could settle or push onward over the Continental Divide, a region in the Rocky Mountains that lays between streams running north to the Atlantic and south to the Pacific.

Whether it was Oregon or California, those early pioneers, in all their determination, faced the longest and most difficult challenge of their lives on this journey. Some had already endured earlier migrations to the frontier of the Midwest, but what obstacles and set-backs lay ahead in the frontier west of Missouri was unknown.

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Updated 28 Jan 2008

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