Rapidity of Change in the West

“The rapidity with which change now came to the West was illustrated only nine years later [in 1849], when startled Indians began to speak of emigrating eastward, unable to believe that many whites remained east of the Missouri River. For in the twenty years between the time Joel Walker set his face toward Oregon and Abraham Lincoln was elected president, approximately a quarter of a million overlanders had worn the trails to Oregon and California so deeply that in places the ruts are still visible. In that same period over 40,000 Latter-Day Saints traveled portions of those same trails to their Salt Lake valley refuge, and by 1860 thousands of expectant gold seekers were penetrating the Pike’s Peak region.”