Sunday, 4th. Pursued our way over hills and dales, scorched with heat; came to a small copse of red willows, from which issued excellent springs of water. Three buffalo killed, distance travelled 22 miles.
No one in the group, not Bidwell, nor Jimmy John, nor Father De Smet, make mention of any celebration of Independence Day on the 4th of July in their journals. It was just another day on the trail. Yet you’d think it could hardly have gone unremarked. But their focus was always on the day-to-day difficulties of the journey: the rough terrain, the need to find food and water, and the imperative to press on.
Father Nicolas Point, one of the missionaries, drew a number of sketches of life on the trail. I can’t translate the French caption on this drawing. It may be one of the sketches he made while traveling with the Bidwell-Bartleson Party.