The Superhighway of Westward Expansion

“The route from Fort Kearny to Fort Laramie was the superhighway of westward expansion. There were many ‘jumping-off places’ for emigrants along the Missouri River from Independence to Omaha, but all these strands converged at Fort Kearny to become one great migratory, military, and communications route. Fort Kearny was the official end of the prairie lands and the gateway to the Great Plains, with its endless level horizon and strange treelessness; Fort Laramie, with Laramie Peak looming to the westward, marked the transition from the Great Plains to the Rocky Mountains.”

[N.B. Unsure of the difference between “plains” and “prairie,” I found this on Encyclopaedia Britannica: “Natural vegetation in the Great Plains is dominated by grasses—tallgrass and medium grass prairie in the east and shortgrass and bunchgrass steppes in the west. These [plains] grasslands include forbs and larger plants such as the yucca and the prickly pear cactus in marginal areas, as well as shrubs and some small trees such as the mesquite and the sagebrush.”