From the Publisher
This is a story about how it might have been in 1877 when Charles Maybee moved his family from Kansas to Oregon. It is based a note passed down through the family from his oldest son. Supporting characters, events and personal interactions are fictional. But tracing the route that Charles took, and knowing the hazards he faced in those days before automobiles existed, is like being there with him.
Charles is tired of scraping out a living in Kansas and believes a homestead in Oregon's fertile Willamette Valley is the way to a better life. But his wife, Mary Jane, refuses to go. It would mean traveling by covered wagon for six months. They have four small children and a fifth is on the way. The rift between her and Charles takes months to mend, but she finally relents and in the spring of 1877, when their new baby is just six months old, they begin the 2,000-mile journey in the company of two neighboring families.
Life on the trail is demanding and painfully difficult, but Charles leads their party with unwavering resolve. In northeast Kansas, near the Big Blue River, they join a party from Missouri led by Jack Jarrett. Continuing as a seven-wagon caravan, they cross the harsh plains of Nebraska. After surviving a fierce storm that threatens their lives and scatters their livestock, they travel through the towering bluffs of western Nebraska into Wyoming Territory, and over the Rocky Mountains. Continuing through rugged Idaho Territory, they enter the promised land of Oregon. Still, they face a daunting passage through the Blue Mountains and around Mt. Hood before reaching Oregon City, the end of the Oregon Trail. Charles then faces the final challenge — finding a place to settle and begin a new life.