Green River, Wyoming, the site of many mountain man rendevous during the fur trapping era.
Pierre DeSmet attended one of
the last mountain man/fur trading rendezvous at Green River, in
1840, and described the scene as a group of Snakes (Shoshone)
arrived: "Three hundred of their warriors came up in good order,
and at full gallop into the midst of our camp. They were
hideously painted, armed with clubs, and covered all over with
feathers, pearls, wolves' tails, teeth and claws of animals,
outlandish adornments, with which each one had decked himself out
according to his fancy. Those who had wounds received in war,
and those who had killed the enemies of their tribe, displayed
their scars ostentatiously and waved the scalps they had taken on
the ends of poles, after the manner of standards."
Mountain men headed to the annual summer rendezvous.
It was on this
trip, while travelling north with the Flatheads to visit their
homeland in what is modern day Montana, that DeSmet 'discovered'
Alder Gulch, the scene of the gold rush near Virginia City, in
Montana, in the 1860s. DeSmet described the bed of the river
being covered in gold sand, but he mentioned the discovery to no
one. Twenty years later - rediscovered by prospectors - Alder
Gulch would become the richest placer mine in the world. For
two decades, white trappers had been taking beaver in streams that
were holding inconceivable fortunes. DeSmet took not even a
tiny pinch of gold dust for fear that his discovery would be
revealed, and he kept the secret for years.