“Some of the watercraft drafted into use by the increasing pressure of travel [from St. Louis to Independence on the Missouri River] were old and flimsy, and chugging along upstream, were all too easily sprung open by the great snags, or sawyers, in the river—trees whose heavy butts lay sunk in mud, and whose jagged tops swung down with the current. . . .
River craft, especially if of value, were usually tied up at night—sawyers and the ever shifting sand bars were bad enough to encounter in daylight. In dry seasons, it was no uncommon thing to see all the passengers footing it along the bank while the steamer was jacked over a slightly submerged bar by means of ingeniously arranged poles and cables.”