This is the story of a young doctor and his teacher bride who left the comforts and companionships of their home in New York State in the year 1836 with the purpose of establishing a Christian mission among the Indians of the Pacific Northwest.
Their long journey was in itself a heroic undertaking, for Narcissa Whitman was the first white woman ever to cross the perilous Oregon Trail. Then for eleven years they struggled against fearful difficulties to teach the Indians the ways of white civilization; and in the end they failed.
But they succeeded, as true pioneers, in blazing a trail for others to follow, carrying forward the work to which they had dedicated themselves. "If I never do more," Marcus Whitman wrote, "than to have been one of the first to take white women across the Mountain, and prevent the disaster that would have occurred by the breaking up of the Emigration, then I am satisfied."
This satisfaction in serving a cause lights up the whole story of two intrepid people who even in the midst of bitter adversity could "feel it a privelege to have seen all lost wild America, and companioned with the Mountain Men, sharing their fierce freedoms."
In a swinging, vigorous narrative, picturing the varies beauties of forest and mountain, and enlivened by the salty talk of the mountain men, James Daugherty pays tribute to Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, pioneers of Oregon. It is a tribute that will inspire the reader with freshened admiration for the adventurers who led the march of civilization into the great American West.
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