Jim Bridger was a real person

Jim Bridger was a great frontiersman and my fictional hero, Davy Reece, named his horse Bridger in honour of him. In The Cowgirl Murders, Davy says he learnt a lot from that man’s memoirs. In fact, he never wrote any. However, Davy could have known a lot about him indirectly from various sources.

The Cowgirl Murders is now available as an audiobook as well as a paperback and an e-book. Here’s a link to the audiobook. For more about The Cowgirl Murders, see my earlier post.

If you want to know more about Davy Reece, my fictitious hero, here’s an audio version of Revenge, a short story, set eleven years before the Cowgirl Murders to give you something of his background.  There’s a link to another short story, Lost on the Trail, on another recent post.

The cover of the audiobook of The Cowgirl Murders. Jim Bridger is the book's hero's frontiersman hero.

he cover of the audiobook of The Cowgirl Murders. Jim Bridger is the book’s hero’s frontiersman hero.

Here are some facts about Jim Bridger

  1. He was a notable American frontiersman, explorer, and mountain man who lived from 1804 to 1881.
  2. Born in Virginia, he moved west as a young man and became a fur trapper.
  3. He was one of the first non-Native Americans to see the Great Salt Lake. He initially thought it was an arm of the Pacific Ocean.
  4. Jim discovered Bridger Pass in the Rocky Mountains, which later became an important route for the Union Pacific Railroad.
  5. In 1842, he established Fort Bridger in what is now Wyoming, which became a vital resupply point for westward-bound emigrants.
  6. He worked as a guide for the U.S. Army and various expeditions, earning a reputation for his extensive knowledge of the western territories,
  7. He could speak several Native American languages and had good relations with many tribes.
  8. Many geographical features in the western United States are named after him, including the Bridger Mountains, Bridger Wilderness, and Bridger-Teton National Forest.
  9. Jim was known for his storytelling abilities, which sometimes blurred the line between fact and fiction.

Without memoirs, is it all this fiction?

  1. Jim did not write any memoirs himself,because he was illiterate. However, his knowledge and stories were passed down orally, and much of what we know about him comes from secondhand accounts.
  2. “The Life of Jim Bridger” by J. Cecil Alter (1925) is one of the most comprehensive biographies of the man.
  3. “Jim Bridger: Mountain Man” by Stanley Vestal (1946) is another well-known biography.
  4. Some of the  Army officers he guided, recorded many of his stories.
  5. A newspaperman named James Wickes, who interviewed him late in his life, also collected and published many of his tales.
  6. While these aren’t memoirs in the strict sense, they serve as the closest thing we have to Bridger’s own account of his life and adventures.
  7. The lack of a first-person written record has contributed to some of the mythology and debate surrounding his exploits.