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Travel and Fate



Travel: Setting the scene


The Narrows
Mile 252
May 20

Progress has slowed to a crawl in this bottle neck between the Little Blue River and the bluff on its east bank. There is barely enough room for a single wagon to pass. Even the cattle have to go through in single file.

One of your party has been bit on the ankle by a rattlesnake. Is it deadly? You've tried every know remedy for such a wound in a frantic attempt to save his leg. Should it be sawed off with a common handsaw to save his life? What is your remedy?. Time to research the answer!!!

(Pioneers...that's your homework for tonight!!)(After your research is complete read on to find out your fate.)

FATE: What happened?

Fate: For those family members who have gone to the trouble to find a remedy to rattlesnake bites your leg is saved. What is the best remedy?

Alas those who did NOT do the research lose the use of their limb. Will you have to limp to Oregon or can you ride in the wagon a few days to recuperate? (At least you didn't lose your life! Sometimes homework can be a life or death situation.)

(Teacher's note: This scenario was prompted by Catherine Haun's Diary. See L. Schlissel Women's Diary of the Westward Journey.)

cowboy on horse

Reshaw's Bridge
July 17

Torrential thunderstorms slash down on you for days. Not only is the trail muddy and the contents of your wagon soaked, but this deluge has caused the creeks and rivers to flow high and fast.


And now you've reached one of the biggest rivers of all: the North Platte. The good news is that there is a bridge that crosses the North Platte here. It's called the John Richard Reshaw Bridge. But it costs $5 a wagon to cross it and $1 for each animal. (How much money do you have left?)

If you can't (or won't) pay the toll, you can risk waiting until the storm subsides and the water level drops, then ford the river. What will you do?

(Discuss and make a choice, then read the fate)


FATE: If you've decided to pay the toll, you may continue on your way down the trail.

If you decided to wait, you are hit by another wild rain storm. The water level doesn't drop and you end up paying to cross anyway, PLUS lose 2 days of valuable travel time. You will have to work extra hard to catch up with the others.

wagon wheel
wagon wheel
wagon wheel
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Travel & Fates

Map of Oregon Territory Darlene Andre, The Wagonmistress
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Last Updated: 9/28/10