DirectionsFor this Webquest, you will click on the following links to read about Utah's Mountain Men. Fill out the Mountain Men Notes as you go through this webquest, answering the questions. You must click on all of the blue links. Be sure to watch each video, you can use headphones if you have them. If not, keep it at a manageable volume.
These notes will end up on pages 22 and 23 of your notebook.
Mountain Men in General
1. What were mountain men, and what was their primary job?
A mountain man is a male trapper and explorer who lives in the wilderness. Mountain men were most common in the North American Rocky Mountains from about 1810 through to the 1880s (with a peak population in the early 1840s). Source
2. Who did mountain men work for?
Mountain Men could work a company, or they could work for themselves:
British Trappers worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company.
American Trappers worked for the Ashley-Henry Company.
A FREE TRAPPER was a person who didn’t work in a company but worked on their own.
3. What motivated Mountain Men to come to Utah in the first place? What were they trapping, and why?
5. What is supply and demand? How does that effect what is traded and how much it costs at a rendezvous? Supply and demand is the amount a product (in this case, beaver pelts and other goods) are available, and the desire that buys have for it. This regulates the price of the item. If supply is low, and demand is high: sellers can charge more money. If supply is high, and demand is low: sellers charge less money because they want to get rid of their supply.
Supply and demand is easily understood through examples. Here are a few: Example A: At a rendezvous, the supply would be HOW MANY beaver pelts there were to buy. The demand would be HOW MUCH the buyers wanted the beaver pelts. Let's say that there were only 50 beaver pelts at the rendezvous -- this is the supply of beaver pelts. Let's say it was shaping up to be a very cold winter. People would REALLY want beaver pelts to keep them warm. The demand for beaver pelts would be very high, and so the sellers could charge a lot of money for the beaver pelts (because people really wanted them!). In this case, supply was low, and demand was high -- so the sellers could charge a lot of money because the buyers would pay anything to get the pelts. The sellers would sell all of their pelts, even though the cost was high.
Example B: Now let's say that at another rendezvous, there were 500 beaver pelts (a lot). But the beaver hat fashion was going out of style in Europe, and people weren't as interested in buying them. In this case, the supply is HIGH, but the demand is LOW. In this case, the sellers would want to sell the beaver pelts for less money, because they want to get rid of the beaver pelts. The buyers wouldn't want to pay a high price for the pelts, because they had gone out of fashion.
6. What is a cache?
Mountain Men created something called "Caches". (Pronounced like "cash"). A Cache is a hole that Mountain Men would cover with leaves to store their pelts in until rendezvous.
7. For how long did Mountain Men trap?
The trapping era only lasted about 20 years. It ended for two reasons:
1. All of the beaver had been killed. There was nothing left to hunt!
2. The hats were no longer fashionable in Europe.
8. How did Mountain Men use the Native Americans to help them?
Watch this video to learn how Native Americans interacted with the Mountain Men. If the link does not work, just skip it.
The Native Americans also knew the land better than the Mountain Men did, and so they were able to help them find the beaver in a more effective way.
8. What is the greatest contribution the Mountain Men gave us? The mountain men created trails in their journeys. This allowed for many people to come west to settle.