- This is a transcript of the game narrative when the player selects the land route.
Brooklyn to IndependenceEdit
In Chicago, a city with a whopping 20,000 inhabitants, you disembark the Great Lake steamer only to board another water going vessel, a canal boat. This will take you to Peru, Illinois, a ride of about 100 miles.
It may seem unbelievable, but you have to change steamers again in St. Louis!
You are glad to discover this will be your last boat ride (not knowing that in a few short weeks you will long for a relaxing boat to ride).
You board another steamer in St. Louis and ride about 390 miles up the Missouri River to Independence, Missouri.
Hurry up and wait! You'll be in Independence in approximately two days!
You don't look long before you find the "[[Long Island Joing Mining and Stock Company" camp set up just north of Independence.
With a great deal of anticipation you enter camp!!
- Maybe it's the long trip you have just endured, but your extremities feel as if they are cramping up.
You have never suffered from otion sicness before, but your tummy isnt feeling well.
You had a drink before you left Brooklyn, but now you seem dehydrated.
'Rhere was nothing you could do. Sometimes terrible things happen!
The dreaded disease of cholera has knocked on your door. Your misery is over.
It is 2,100 miles to California, but after only a few miles your company, and every other company heading west, realizes that the wagons are too heavy. You begin what will be the start of a continual process, lightening the wagons.
The traffic is very heavy leaving Independence. There must be hundreds of wagons, usually pulled by six to eight mules or oxen, on the trail.
The trails become deeply rutted, making passage difficult.
Wagon axles break, wheels fall off, wagons sink up to their axles in mud. If they cannot be pulled out, they are abandoned.
- When you left Independence, you had this gnawing feeling you were leaving too early.
You were right! Your wagon sank up to its axles in mud!
You may have visions of gold, but stuck in mud is what you've got!
Very few take the southern route.
It isn't long before the first Indians are encountered.
You are now approaching the land of the Pawnee Indians! This is the tribe of Indians that is most feared by the travelers!!
It is necessary to keep a keen watch at all times!!
The plains teem with buffalo! Herds of them stretch as far as the eye can see. Wildlife is extremely abundant.
But the traveling masses do little to preserve their surroundings as they make haste to the West.
While traveling the trail you find that those who have gone before you have left a trail of litter and garbage.
If there was no trail, you would have hardly noticed; you could just follow the trash. It is a sad sight.
Also along the way, you find discouraged travelers heading back home in their wagons.
Travelers look forward to Ft. Kearny for various reasons.
Some just want a place to mail letters; others are interested in how many others have passed before them; leaders want information on the condition of the trail ahead.
The upward slope is so gentle that the animals barely feel the grade. Discarding those unnecessary items in Ft. Kearny really paid off!
The captain advises the rest of the company that this will be the easiest part of your trip, so you had better enjoy it!!
Due to the lack of wood to burn for fires, the common fuel substitute is buffalo chips.
They burn well if ithey are dry. If they are damp, they smoke a lot. If they are wet, they are next to fireproof!
One of the main obstacles between you and Ft. Laramie is the crossing of the South Platte River. What makes this crossing so difficult is that the river bed is like quicksand!!
The trail ahead will take the company by the most prominent landmarks of the trek and, also, of the West!
- Along your journey you have encountered a few Indians and they have all been friendly so far.
But just like pale faces, there are good and bad Indians.
You have just run into some of the bad!
This is just too gruesome to watch!!
These Indians saw the beautiful mules you selected back in Independence and wanted them.
And they got them, at no small price to you!
Every member of your company paid the price.
This is one powwow you would have rather missed!
All along the way the wagons have been getting lighter. But climbing the gentle slopes of the North Platte, your captain finds it necessary to lighten the load even more!
The captain also takes note of the need to increase the care given to the animal teams. There is much tough terrain ahead!
Ft. Laramie is another military station along the way that weary travelers long to reach.
Once they arrive, many meet with great disappointment. They are unable to acquire many of the articles they desperately need, such as fresh animals to replace those that have died along the way or those that will not last much longer.
You could have all the money of the world and it would be useless! They just aren't available!!
Leaving Ft. Laramie, the scenery changes abruptly.
From the gentle slopes of the plain, you are now traveling on the sandy, steep trails leading into the hills called the "Black Hills" because of the dense growth of juniper and pine.
It is now obvious that many wagons on the trail are still extremely overloaded, and they have been abandoning all unnecessary items in mass quantities!
Abandoned articles consisting of bacon, sugar, camp equipment, cooking utensils, clothes, household furniture, stoves, gridirons, carpenter's tools, blacksmith anvis, crowbars, drills, augers, gold washers, chisels, axes, trunks, spades, plows, large grindstones, baking overs, kegs, and barrels, are everywhere.
One company, once in the Black Hills, finally discarded an entire saw mill they planned to operate in California!!
Anything of any value that was discarded was usually ruined in some way so that successive travelers would not be able to use the item.
As for your company, the captain orders that every item that isn't esential to the trip must be discarded, no matter how small!
Your family photo fits in your pocket, so that isn't discarded!
The company decides to allow you to keep the Bible, just in case someone needs it late
Everything else is thrown from the wagon beside the trail.
The only way to cross the North Platte River is by ferry. The line of wagons waiting to cross the river sometimes reaches twenty miles in length!!
Impatient companies cut down trees and make their own rafts for their wagons.
The scenery changes once again.
The landscape is barren, and dotted with sagebrush.
This desert-like region has a few widely scattered ponds, most of which are poisonous pools of alkaline water
It is a gruesome sight to see the result of one of your animals partaking of the poison.
Surrounding these alkaline ponds, the sage bushes are outnumbered only by animal carcasses.
It is a welcome relief to pass from the alkaline territory into the region of the Sweetwater River where the water is just that - sweet!
A short break from the seemingly never-ending toil of crossing the country is taken at South Pass to celebrate reaching the halfway point of your journey, which coincides with the Continental Divide. You are now on the Pacific side of the Rockies!
IdahoEditYour wagon train is now entering an arid stretch of land!! It will be fifty miles before you or the animals will be able to taste the refreshing cool water of the Green River.
Every container is filled to the brim with the life-giving water that will be so valuable for the next few days.
The trail across this desolate wasteland is strewn with dead oxen.
The animals, as well as you, are parched and desperately in need of water.
During this section of the trail, the going gets tough. There are no rivers going your direction to follow.
It is just seemingly endless miles of gravel, rocks, sand, dust, steep hills to climb, and difficult descents.
As difficult as it is to keep on going, you have to keep those big wheels turning!!
The trail gets slightly easier for a few miles as you follow the Bear River. This is a welcome relief.
Here the trail forks. The southern route is called Hudspeths Cut-off. That route is slightly shorter, as the crow flies, but it misses the stop at Ft. Hall. Your captain takes you on the northern route toward the fort.
A common landmark is Steeple Rocks, two pointed columns of rock prominently standing two to three hundred feet in height.
It is a relief for your captain to see this landmark come into view. He lets everyone know that the company is right on course!
From Steeple Rocks your team continues westward.
About ninety miles west of Steeple Rocks, you encounter the Humboldt River.
The Humboldt River is a real lifesaver. It is more like a mud ditch than a river, but it preserves life through 300 miles of arid, hostile wasteland. Tombstones of unfortunate travelers and carcasses lie everywhere along the trail.
Although the Humboldt River supplied water to people and animals passing by, there are now other factors to challenge the company.
Fatigue is taking its toll on people and animals who must walk day, after day, after day, breathing dust and pulverized dung. The continual complaining of company members is adding even more tension.
Goldseekers who have lost their animals are also resorting to stealing animals from other companies.
Captain Buddy decides to take the Truckee Route.
You, along with everyone else in the company, are now beginning to wonder why Captain Buddy selected the Truckee route! It takes you directly through a deadly desert, while the Lassen Cut-off avoids the desert completely!!
It is too late to go back. You'll just have to make the best of it and hope you survive!!
It wasn't far from here that the Donner Party encountered an early winter storm. Just the thought of it sends chills up and down your spine!!
- Your last thoughts are, "I knew we should have left Independence earlier."
Then you fall into a deep, endless sleep.
An early winter storm in the Sierra-Nevadas] ends your trip here. You were so close...
Now you are over the summit of the Sierra-Nevada mountain range and are beginning your descent into the Sacramento Valley!!
Just knowing you are getting close gives you a little more energy!!
Once you reach the Sacramento Valley, you get word from travelers who took Lassen's Cut-off that the terrain was formidable! Perhaps Captain Buddy did make a wise decision!
You also learn that the U.S. Army, in an attempt to prevent another catastrophe which would dwarf that of the Donner Party, has sent rescue teams to help those men, women, and children still on the trails in the Sierras!
- You have 95 out of 95! You are right on trek!!