On its way to gold fields in Montana, the riverboat sank in the Missouri and its hull and cargo eventually covered with mud. The author helped recover more than 200,000 Civil War-era artifacts from the remains of the Bertrand after they were found in a Nebraska cornfield.
They created towns and became the center of Western life, enabling wheat, cattle, and minerals to flow out of the West
What it was like for the first travelers
Pioneer farmers had neither wood nor brick to build with, but there sure was plenty of good earth