Fort Laramie-Oh Those Prices

Fort Laramie, beloved in western legend and story may not have been quite so popular in its day. Francis Parkman in his wonderful book, The Oregon Trail, described his visit to the famous fort in 1846. This year was specific as 1846 was the year the fort went from a private concern (one of the trading-posts established by the American Fur Company) to a government owned fort with the purpose of protecting travelers along the trail and protecting settlers, if any, in and around the fort.

Parkman described the fort itself, the buildings within and even spent quite a few words talking about building materials, roofs and windows. But what I found most interesting was the following. “Prices are most extortionate: sugar, two dollars a cup; five-cent tobacco at a dollar and a half; bullets at seventy-five cents a pound. The company is exceedingly disliked in this country.”

Travelers along the trail often needed to re-supply by the time they got to the fort—hope they had a lot of money with them as prices were much more than they were expecting.

Anything to make a buck!


Post a Comment