Zenas Leonard became a fur trapper, heading up the Missouri and trapping through to the Pacific Coast in the 1830's. He left home as a young man and was given up for dead by his family--but returned after five and a half years in the wilderness.
Leonard travelled with the famous Joseph Walker and Captain Bonneville. He fought grizzlies, Indians, hunger, and blizzards. He lived amongst the Crows for a time and was horrified by their their torture of prisoners. He spent time on the coast of California, learning horse riding and roping from the Spanish.
Not all the men on the expedition returned, and misfortune reduced their numbers. Each separation for trapping or exploration meant a grueling good-by as danger lurked in every canyon. Leonard and his companions risked life and limb each day, but few returned to the States with the fortunes they had envisioned.
This report prepared by Anne-Louise Bennett