In this fascinating study, Professor Aaron Woodard sheds new light on an old subject - the fur trade in the Upper Missouri. Concentrating particularly on his own state of South Dakota, Woodard weaves a tale of international intrigue, vicious Indian fights and heroic mountain men. Woodard uses government documents and primary evidence to illustrate the grave danger confronting the American fur trading fraternity during the War of 1812. Woodard notes that but for the resolute actions of individual mountain men, the Upper Missouri could well have become another English colony, while the United States as we know it today would never have been created. Woodard also examines the key role played by Native Americans as the fur trade became big business. Indians were not simply tricked into trading with whites - Woodard notes that a complex relationship developed between traders and their Indian partners, often involving marriages and family interaction. The book also profiles individual traders and Mountain Men such as Pierre Chouteau, Manuel Lisa and the legendary Jedediah Smith - all of whom had hair raising adventures in the Upper Missouri. Readers will learn of Smith's narrow escape from a marauding Grizzly Bear, and of early battles between trappers and Indian tribes. Any reader interested in early American frontier history or the fur trade and Mountain Men will find this an excellent and exciting reading adventure as well as a reliable and useful reference tool. The book is also generously illustrated with maps, western art and drawings by Frederick Remington and George Catlin.