The Meek Cutoff
Tracing the Oregon Trail's Lost Wagon Train of 1845
Those who followed Meek experienced a terrible ordeal when his memory of the terrain apparently failed. Lost for weeks with little or no water and a shortage of food, the Overlanders encountered deep dust, alkali lakes, and steep, rocky terrain. Many became ill and some died in the forty days it took to travel from the Snake River in present-day Idaho to the Deschutes River near Bend, Oregon. Stories persist that children in the group found gold nuggets in a small, dry creek bed along the way.
From 2006 to 2011, Brooks Ragan and a team of specialists in history, geology, global positioning, metal detecting, and aerial photography spent weeks every spring and summer tracing the Meek Cutoff. They located wagon ruts, gravesites, and other physical evidence from the most difficult part of the trail, from Vale, Oregon, to the upper reaches of the Crooked River and to a location near Redmond where a section of the train reached the Deschutes.
About the Author
""The book effectively conveys the impact of this catastrophe by providing a day-to-day chronicle of the ordeal— sharing excerpts from the daily entries of various emigrants, and including maps that depict the slow and tortuous progress of the different offshoots of the group."—Barbara Lloyd McMichael, Bellingham Herald, August 12 2013
""Local historians and Oregon Trail aficionados will find The Meek Cutoff both fascinating and informative. The spirit and endurance of the Oregon pioneers shine through in every chapter."—Renee Struthers, Eastern Oregonian, August 10 2013
"The Meek Cutoff is the first book to identify and retrace the emigrants' exact course. Author Brooks Greer Ragen accomplished this feat in 2006, walking the trail he had identified by using diaries and other first-hand accounts written by the emigrants, accompanied by a team of experts. One of this book's great strengths lies in its use of beautiful color photographs that illustrate each area the text described. Highly recommended for all ages."—Paula Becker, HistoryLink
"Beautifully illustrated with color images and detailed maps, this work makes a fine contribution to trail studies.The Meek Cutoff is a handsome addition to the library of Oregon Trail studies, and should grace the shelves of all students of the subject."—Overland Journal
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