Landscape scene – valley between mountain ranges, river down center; three Native Americans on horses standing on shore at left.
The explorations of Lewis and Clark (1804-1806) revealed that the Rocky Mountains were a formidable obstacle to overcome during the westward expansion movement in America. The explorers searched for routes with water, food sources, and gentle terrain that were suitable for wagon travel. Fur trappers assisted in finding routes including those successfully used by Native Americans. By the 1820s, the entire Rocky Mountain region was well known to fur trappers who, as time went on, ventured further into the vast wilderness following the rivers upstream, seeking out the headwaters in search of beaver.