July 10, 1841

“Saturday, 10th. Travelled about 14 miles and stopped to kill and dry meat. Buffalo began to grow scarce.”

By this time on their journey the company had almost exhausted its supplies of flour and other foodstuffs. Bidwell had laid in extra supplies, but he doesn’t say how much he had left. The company knew they still had a long way to go, and began to kill buffalo and dry the meat, with the hope that the jerky would last them until California.

However they had left their plans to “make meat” until too late. Crossing the plains they had seen vast herds of buffalo, but now as they traveled up the Sweetwater River toward the Continental Divide, they saw fewer and fewer. They killed twenty buffalo on the 8th and ten on the 9th. On the 11th Bidwell would record that they killed 6 or 7 the day before, and 4 or 5 on the 11th. Meat on the hoof was dwindling just at the time they realized how much they would need it.

About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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