The Oregon Trail game was a big part of many gamers’ childhoods. But as you’d imagine, A Life in the Oregon Trail game there is a world of difference between how the game depicts a pioneer’s life and how their life was.
In this post, A Life in the Oregon Trail game we get into seven details of how pioneers lived to help you understand the differences between our era and theirs.
Life on the Oregon Trail
#1 Getting Rich Quick Wasn’t Always the Agenda
You’d be surprised to learn that traders and fur trappers first created the Oregon Trail in 1811. These traders were the main users of the trail and not pioneer families that wanted to settle in the west.
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While economic factors were a key motivation for the pioneers to head westward, A Life in the Oregon Trail game this wasn’t always the case. The promise of free land and fertile soil drew some families to the west, while others were simply trying to escape the debts they had racked up.
It was also difficult to find work in the east in the early years of the 19th century. Furthermore, mid-western states were hit by a spate of diseases in the 1830s, so many thought of moving westward as a healthier way of leading life.
The idea of “manifest destiny” also motivated many pioneers to travel west via the Oregon Trail.
#2 Disease Spread Quickly
The majority of the families traveling on the Oregon trail fell ill, and many lives were lost to diseases such as Typhoid fever. People also suffered dysentery by drinking dirty water on the trail.
What’s scary about falling sick on the trail is that many victims of gastrointestinal disease would often become delusional. They would wander around until they caught Typhoid and died.
But the worst disease that affected the pioneers was Asiatic cholera. It would appear as a stomach ache, and it was only a matter of time until the cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea took hold. If this didn’t kill the travelers, the dehydration and exhaustion did.
Only the pioneers that survived the first 24 hours of the disease made a full recovery and continued their journey.
#3 The Pioneers Left Everything Behind
While the pioneers set out to start a new life in the west, they would pack as lightly as possible. So, most families left their furniture and other possessions behind and only carried the essentials: food, clothes, and tools.
Some wealthy pioneers managed to send large items, including furniture, to their new homes in the west. However, most families that could not afford to move their possessions left them behind.
#4 Freedom Was More of Relative Term
While many believe that the pioneer era was a time of complete freedom, this isn’t true. Traveling alone and completely free came with several risks, so many pioneers banded together and followed the rules of the road.
Groups of travelers would elect leaders and sign written constitutions before setting off. Drinking and gambling were restricted activities and often completely banned on the road.
But it wasn’t all strict. The pioneers were just as benevolent as they were uncompromising. There were provisions provided if someone fell sick or died. Sundays were rest days, and men rested while women caught up with their domestic chores.
#5 They Ate Basic Food to Survive
Most pioneers would eat the same tasteless food every day to survive. Research by the National Oregon-California Trail Center revealed that the typical pioneer family carried 600 pounds of flour, 100 pounds of sugar, and 200 pounds of lard for their journey.
Some families would also pack 60 pounds of coffee that they made fresh along the way when they found freshwater. Dried fruit was also a popular choice for pioneers.
Bacon was the one treat that pioneers enjoyed, but it was also relatively tasteless since it was heavily salted or packed in barrels of bran.
#6 Many Pioneers Found Love on the Trail
Thousands of teenagers and young adults on the trail were forced to travel together in close-knit communities for months. Many of them fell in love, and this way, the trail forged relationships that lasted a lifetime.
Some young couples even got married on the trail, but many didn’t get their privacy. Their families and friends would play practical jokes on them after the wedding (in the best of spirit). Playing pranks was so commonplace the pioneers had a term for it: “shivaree.”
No wonder many old romance novels had the Oregon trail as the backdrop!
#7 Some Pioneers Found God on the Trail
Countless pioneers converted to Christianity on their journey westward. This is attributed to all the natural beauty they saw around them. Some historians also believe that the vast expanses made the pioneers feel small and insignificant.
But in most cases, people turned to Christianity after traveling alongside the many Christian missionaries that were also headed westward.
If you haven’t played Oregon Trail before or want to go back and play the game, you can play the Oregon Trail game online.
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