Tents on the Trail

“A few tents might be seen, polka-dotted sparingly in the bold pattern made by white wagon tops against the dark green background of the rolling valley. There were not so many used as one might, at first thought, imagine; and we have record that, in at least one of the river outfitting towns, there were none for sale and the tent-minded emigrant had to buy material and make his own.

Weather conditions had a good deal to do with the situation. An energetic prairie storm could cover fairly high ground ‘shoelatch-deep’ with running water, and low land promptly assumed the aspect of a storm-tossed lake. In fact, as one man wrote, ‘theare [sic] was not much chance to sleep without you could fancy wet blankets and a torrent of water running under you.’ . . .

Those who owned wagons slept in them, and those who did not rolled their blankets underneath as a slight precaution against being stepped on if a stampede should start.”