July 9, 1841

Friday, 9th. Travelled about 18 miles, killed ten buffalo.

By this time on their journey the company had almost exhausted its supplies of flour and other foodstuffs. Bidwell had laid in extra supplies, because he hated the idea of living on nothing but meat, but by now even he must have been running low. He doesn’t say how much he had left. The company knew they still had a long way to go, although they really didn’t have a good idea of how far. They 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. The number of buffalo would continue to dwindle.

Buffalo in spring, somewhere in Wyoming.

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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