Mile 680: Scott’s Bluff

“The third of the soft stone landmarks is Scott’s Bluff, slightly more than twenty miles from the Chimney. Scott’s Bluff owes its name to an incident of the fur-trapping days. Scott, it seems, was employed by the American Fur Company, and fell sick on his way home from the mountains. . . . [I]n order to make speed, the leader of Scott’s group went ahead with his men, leaving only two to bring Scott down the North Platte in a bullboat. It was agreed to meet at this distinctive bluff.

The boat was wrecked, and there was no way to take Scott along. The two men deserted him, expecting that he would obligingly die quietly where they left him. In fact they reported to their party that he had done so, and the entire company left the bluff and returned to civilization.nThe unfortunate Scott, meanwhile, struggled along toward the assigned meeting place, a distance of some sixty miles. After untold agony of body and mind he arrived to find unmistakable evidence of their departure. Hope was gone. He relinquished his soul to its maker and his outraged body to the wolves; but his bones remained—his bones and some identifying trifles by which they were recognized the next summer anf the whole sordid story was exposed. A memorial tablet has been erected near the spring where he spent his last hours.”