Many of the Mountain Men of the Fur Trade era were literate. Books were treasured and enjoyed. Osborne Russell, a young man of 20 years, wrote in his journal that during the winter of 1839-1840 while at Fort Hall “We had some few books to read such as Byron’s, Shakespeare’s and Scott’s works, the Bible and Clark’s Commentary on it and other small works on Geology, Chemistry and Philosophy.”
For many of these men, when visiting trading posts, forts or meeting other expeditions, new reading material was eagerly sought out.
In this painting, a trapper reads aloud to his comrades an enthralling tale from another time.