Introduction to The River of the West

Joe Meek's Years in the Rocky Mountains


This is the story of Joe Meek and his years as a mountainman. Meek came west in 1828 as an employee of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, and spent the next twelve years engaged in the fur trade. He worked for the various fur companies and later became a free trapper. He often traveled with Bridger's brigade, and participated many of the important events of the period.

In the later years of his life, he told his story to Oregon historian Frances Fuller Victor, who recorded the narrative we see here. Meek had a vivid memory of his years in the mountains, and he enlivened the account with many entertaining anecdotes of mountainman life.

This on-line book consists of the first twenty-one chapters of the original edition as published in 1870 by Mrs. Victor. The remaining chapters of the original edition deal with Meek's second career as an Oregon settler, after retiring from his life as a mountainman. While this material is a useful source for the history of settlement in Oregon, it is beyond the scope of this electronic fur-trade library, and is not included here.

Bibliographical Information

Originally published as:
Victor, Mrs. Frances A. Fuller. The River of the West. Hartford, Connecticut and Toledo, Ohio: R. W. Bliss and Co., 1870.

A recent edition, in 2 volumes with Introduction and notes by Winfred Blevins, was published by Mountain Press Publishing Co., Missoula, MT, 1983. It is currently in print, by Tamarak Books.

Links to the Text

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