Jedediah Smith became one of the ‘hundred enterprising young men’ who answered General William Ashley’s call to explore the American North West and compete with British interests in the fur trade. After various exploits, including a mauling by a grizzly bear in Wyoming, Ashley offered him a partnership in his fur company in 1825, whereupon Smith set off in search of fresh sources. In his first expedition to California (1826–27), he survived an Indian massacre while fording the Colorado River, and managed to cross the Mojave Desert. Returning within the year, he attempted an even more ambitious itinerary travelling up through California to Oregon Country. He survived another massacre, this time by Umpqua Indians, before reaching the British outpost of the Hudson Bay Company. His booty from these various adventures made him a wealthy man and he returned east, only to be killed by Comanche Indians while prospecting in Kansas.
— OR —