Oregon Trail Along the Snake River

June 8, 2021

The Spauldings and Whitmans showed that a wheeled wagon could cross the country. Crossing the Snake River Plain was dry, dusty, with little food, grass was scarce, sharp rocks slashed the feet of the animals. Indians were friendly at first until they saw the destruction of the thousands of travelers.

The Lost Golden Lake

June 1, 2021

In a blinding blizzard Ashton Teeples stumbled onto a lake. In three days he panned $225,000 in gold nuggets. He survived attacks by two different outlaw bands, shot six times, rescued by Mexican sheepherders, his life was saved. He enjoyed his fortune, but the golden lake was never found again.

Bering Sea Whaler

May 25, 2021

In 1856 six year old Minnie and her mother Mary with her husband Captain Sam Lawrence boarded the whaling ship Addison. They spent the next four years in the Alaskan waters returning to Massachusetts with a full load of oil and baleen.

Brush Poppers

May 18, 2021

Mossy horn steers were wild and dangerous. The cowboys wore heavy leather chaps, gauntlets and jackets to protect themselves as they crashed through mesquite trees, prickly pears, and other thorny shrubs chasing these wild cattle.

Oliver Loving

May 11, 2021

Oliver Loving and his partner Charles Goodnight pioneered cattle drives. Loving and Bill Wilson escaped an Indian attack by swimming the Pecos River. Loving was wounded but made it to Fort Sumner where he died. Goodnight carried his body back to Texas for burial.

Guns of the Old West

May 4, 2021

Which gun won the West? The Hawken, Samuel Colt's pistols, the Springfield "needle gun," Winchester, Smith and Wesson, Sharps? All played their role in taming the west. The double barrel shotgun was versatile, economical, good for hunting, defense, the true workhorse of the Old West.

The Outlaw Burt Alvord

April 27, 2021

Marshall Alvord and his gang successfully robbed a train, his next train robbery failed landing him in jail. He escaped and headed to Mexico. He helped capture outlaw Augustine Chacon. Jailed after another robbery, he spent two years in prison. He died from yellow fever in Barbados.

The Great Diamond Hoax

April 20, 2021

Partners Arnold and Slack showed investors a sack of diamonds they "claimed" they found. They led a group to Wyoming where they had "salted" a small area with uncut diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires. Geologist Clarence King, a government surveyor exposed the hoax as "utterly valueless" and "unparalleled fraud."

Snowshoe Thompson

April 13, 2021

For twenty years he skied 90 miles over 50 foot snowdrifts through blizzards to haul the mail over the Sierras. He saved the lives of miners, hauled clothing, books, emergency supplies, tools, pots and pans never thinking of himself. He helped anyone in need and left his mark in California's history.

Hats and Caps

April 6, 2021

John Stetson created the "Boss of the Plains." It kept the sun off your eyes and neck, could be a bucket, was customized by the owner and may cost two months wages. The "coonskin cap" was never worn by Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett or Lewis and Clark except on TV.