“Fully Competent to Go Anywhere”

No one of the party knew anything about mountaineering and scarcely anyone had ever been into the Indian Territory, yet a large majority felt that we were fully competent to go anywhere no matter what they difficulties might be or how numerous and warlike the Indians.

We heard before starting, however, that a party of Catholic missionaries from St. Louis going to the Flathead Indians under the auspices of Father De Smet were soon expected and that they had for their guide the experienced Captain Fitzpatrick.

The more prudent advised waiting for the missionary party and finally with much persuasion they prevailed on the others to wait. (The 1877 Bidwell Dictation)

“More prudent” — that would describe John Bidwell.

But what confidence these men had in their abilities to take on anything. No map, no guide, no trail experience — but so what? Let’s get going! How hard can it be?

Little did they know . . . .


Thomas “Broken-Hand” Fitzpatrick in his later years.

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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