Old West Lifestyle & Stories


The idea of the rendezvous was not that of a mountain man, but William Ashley, a St. Louis, Missouri merchant on a venture west.  Ashley decided to cut out the competition for furs by going to Wyoming where the moMountain Manuntain men were, instead of waiting for the furs to come to St. Louis.

So on November 10, 1824 William Ashley left St. Louis for Wyoming.  It was a six-month trip.

Since mountain men had little use for money, William took traps, weapons, trade goods, supplies and especially liquor.  And he marked up the cost of goods as much as twenty times their eastern price, and he paid less than half the St. Louis price for the plews, as the mountain men called the beaver pelts.

But the mountain men didn’t care, this was a chance for these normally solitary men to relax, drink, gamble, drink, womanize and drink.  It was an opportunity to rekindle relationships with other mountain men that they hadn’t seen for a year or more.  And discover those who had gone to the rendezvous in the sky.

Several thousand Indians also showed up for the party.  Even though some of the Indians and mountain men were mortal enemies, the rendezvous was a place of truce.

There were about 15 rendezvous over a period of that many years.  By then trading posts, forts and civilization found their way in the remote sections of the west and beaver pelts lost their value.  Some mountain men returned to civilization; others came out of the mountains to kill buffalo on the plains; still others went further back into the mountains, never to be heard from again.

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