Minnesota Historical Society

Red River Trails: Oxcart Routes between St. Paul and the Selkirk Settlement, 1820-1870

$ 19.95


The Red River Trails traces the historical development of the paths that ran through Minnesota, North Dakota, and Canada. These rutted, tangled roads helped to open the West and provided a passageway for the exchange of furs and trade goods hauled by skilled métis (mixed-blood) drivers in their famed Red River oxcarts.

In the mid-nineteenth century, a network of primitive roadways carried an international trade in furs and merchandise between the burgeoning commercial center of St. Paul in the south and the colony that grew into modern Winnipeg in Canada to the north. These were the legendary Red River Trails, as important to the commerce and development of the West as the Santa Fe and Oregon trails.

Using nineteenth-century travel accounts and a wide variety of other sources, the authors vividly describe the trails, which passed through more than thirty-five Minnesota counties as well as southern Manitoba and eastern North Dakota. Numerous illustrations and detailed maps will help readers to visualize life on the trails and to locate the remnants that still exist today.

  • By: Rhoda R. Gilman, Carolyn Gilman, and Deborah M. Stultz
  • Format: Paper, 115 pp. photos, maps, index
  • Publisher: MHS Press
  • Product ##: 9780873511339


Praise for The Red River Trails:

"Every Canadian and American driver who makes the trip [from Winnipeg to St. Paul] should read The Red River Trails! . . . Its special contribution is in creating a feeling for the period and the place. . . . Both good history and good historical geography."--North Dakota History


"The quality of the writing is superb . . . the one indispensable book for anyone interested in the history of the Red River Valley."--Red River Valley Historian


"The definitive work on a trail which should rank with other celebrated American frontier trails. . . . Thoroughly documented and extensively annotated. . . . Recommended."--Museum of the Fur Trade Quarterly


"Written in the best tradition of works which reveal a close knowledge of more than one country. . . . Photographs, sketches, paintings, and maps have been effectively woven into the narrative. . . . Thanks to [the authors'] diligence it is now possible to follow the historic carts in their travels from one river crossing to the next, over the flat prairie, through swamps and woodlands, and on to their numerous stops at trading posts, missionary establishments, inns, villages and towns along the way."--Manitoba History

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