Mountain Men

Today you’ll be going back in time to become a fur trapper, or mountain man. You’ll face trackless wilderness, wild animals, and untold dangers. The ones who make it through alive…win.

So begins our Time Travel Field Trip to 1829. It’s unlike any history lecture, textbook or presentation you’ve ever seen. Why?

History is so often taught as a fait accompli, something where the conclusion is already known, something that happened a long time ago to other people.

This is different. Click the links to find out more.

Mountain Men focuses on:

  • Will you be a free trapper or a company trapper?
  • The opportunity cost of being a fur trapper or a company trapper.
  • Where will you go to set your traps?
  • How to use a map and considerations of competition for resources to make a wise decision.
  • Why did people choose to become fur trappers?
  • What were the risks and rewards?
  • What was life really like as a fur trapper?
  • Paintings from Alfred Miller, who traveled with the fur companies, are included in the student materials and in the movies as a primary source.
  • Additional primary source support for student dice rolls included in the appendix. Share it with your students, read it for your own pleasure, or ignore it completely – whatever works for you!


(DOK 1) Students can define choice and opportunity cost.

(DOK 2-3) Students can analyze different choices and their opportunity costs.

(PFL) (DOK 1-2) Students can identify risks that individuals face.

(SS09-GR.4-S.1-GLE.2) Students know about the historical eras and groups in Colorado history.


Two class periods, 45 minutes to an hour each.

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