“Jim Bridger always maintained that his strategically located fort had been stolen from him. The Mormons, he insisted, had never bought him out in 1853, as they had said, but had evicted him by force. . . .
After he returned with Johnston’s expedition to his post—left a smoke-blackened ruin in accordance with Wells’ instructions—Bridger had further trouble, this time with the federal government. In November 1857 he leased the property, some 4,000 acres, to Capt. J. H. Dickerson, acting as the army’s agent . . . One clause in the contract proved troublesome to Bridger: it stated that no payment would be made on the lease until he had established his title. . . .
Although [Mexico] had not objected to [Bridger’s] presence in a region so remote from its settlements, it had given him no legal evidence of ownership, and he was never able to prove his title to the satisfaction of the United States. Between 1869 and 1878 he appealed five times for a settlement of his claim, always without success. . .
Finally his attorney wrote to the deputy quartermaster general in 1889 that he was dropping the suit because ‘Capt. James Bridger and nearly all of his witnesses have died.”