AGAIN it seemed almost a pity that the short run from Verendrye and Minot to Old Fort Union had to be made before the members of the Upper Missouri Historical Expedition had risen and could view what unseeing eyes may describe as "a dreary country" of rolling russet foothills, but every mile of which is famous in such stirring events of frontier history as pale the wildest inventions of fiction.
Try to picture this No Man's Land of less than a hundred years ago!
St. Louis was a rude frontier village that was the jumping-off place to the Back of Beyond for the Spanish mountain region of the Southwest; for the vast area of the plains, roughly bounded by the Platte on the South, the Saskatchewan on the North; for the transmontane empire bordering the Pacific, from the Sacramento to New Caledonia beyond the headwaters of the Fraser. Santa Fé was the capital of the Spanish region. Fort Union was the feudal stronghold of all the wild, warring tribes from Saskatchewan to the Platte. Fort Vancouver, on the Willamette and Columbia, was the center of McLoughlin's Hudson's Bay fur empire.