There is a kind of murderous precision in the women’s recounting of mishap. Surely, the accounts must be viewed as a reflection of the continuing anxieties they felt. But the more one reads these diaries, the more one comes to feel the passionate indictment, the bitter appraisal by the women of the men’s determination to make the journey. However bravely the women started, however they mustered their strength to meet the demands of each day, however they rallied to appreciate the splendors of the scenery, the women were intimately affected by the journey’s dreadful toll. Their responses depended upon whether their own lives were placed within the processes of childbearing and childrearing, or whether they were still in their girlhood years. Buoyant spirits are almost always in the diaries of unmarried girls and young wives. Accounts shade and darken in the pages of women whose energies were spent nursing and caring for infants and small children.