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Rocky Mountain Fur Trade
You’ve made your choice. Let’s see what happens to you!
Elect a Leader
What were the risks and rewards?
Why did people choose to become Mountain Men?
• Choose roles • Act out play
Mountain Men Play
Risks and Rewards
• Think about what you learned from the play. • What are some rewards or incentives that made people want to become mountan men? • What were some of the risks they faced?
• Choose an identity and write your name on the line. • Pass around the identity sheet and pen until everyone has an identity. • Share your name and where you are from with your group.
Choose an identity
• Team leader chooses a score keeper. • Score keeper writes names on the score sheet. • Make sure the identity number matches the number on the score sheet.
Prepare score sheet
Vocabulary: Mountain Man
A non-native fur trapper who looked for beaver in the Rocky Mountains. Discuss: Are all your identities from America? Did some people come from other countries?
How do dice rolls work?
Activate Time Machine
Welcome to 1829
Life as a Mountain Man
Risk: The chance that something bad might happen.
Choice: The act of making up one’s mind.
Decision One: Company or Free Trapper?
To work as a trapper, you will need supplies: • 1-4 horses or mules for transportation • A rifle • A set of 7 traps • Saddles, hatchet, knife, ammunition, cooking gear, blankets, clothing and food. All this will cost you around $600. How will you get the supplies you need?
You have chosen to be a fur trapper in the Rocky Mountains. You will live there all year, trapping furs in the fall and spring.
1. Work for a company •The company will give you all the supplies you need for free.•You will get paid $300 per year for your work.•The company will set up a camp with cooks, hunters, and people to scrape and prepare the furs.•Your boss will tell you where to hunt.•You have to do any job he asks you to do.StartFragment EndFragment •Any furs you find belong to the company.EndFragment
Option One: Company Trapper
2. Become a free trapper •Borrow the supplies you need from the fur company.•You will owe them $600 at the end of the year.•If you find more than $600 worth of furs, you can keep the difference.•You can go where you want to go.•You choose what to do.StartFragment EndFragment •You will be totally independent.EndFragment
Option Two: Free Trapper
StartFragment•Discuss this decision with your group. •Consider the possible risks and rewards of each choice.•Each person chooses for him or herself. You do NOT need to agree with your group.•You will find out how much money you made at the end of the game. EndFragmentEndFragment
Note choice on score sheet
StartFragmentStartFragment Scorekeeper, write C for Company or F for Free Trapper next to each person’s name on the score sheet.EndFragmentEndFragmentEndFragment
• Opportunity Cost: The cost or value of what you give up when you choose one thing over another. • Competition: The act or process of trying to get something (such as beaver furs) that someone else is also trying to get.
The rendezvous at Pierre’s Hole (in the mountains) has just ended.It’s time to pick where you will be trapping this year.There’s a lot of competition from other fur companies.Everyone is trying to find the streams with the most beaver so they can make the most money.Where will you go to trap? EndFragment
Decision One: Where to Trap?
1. Stay in this area.Men have been trapping beaver here for years.Cold winters mean thick pelts and good prices.You’ll be near the next rendezvous for supplies. EndFragment
2. Head East.Go trapping on the Platte River.You have a decent map of the area.Not many people go there, so you might find more beaver there than in the heavily traveled areas. EndFragment
3. Explore new land.Go southwest into places unknown by the fur companies.You might even make it to the Humboldt River.You don’t know what’s out there- it’s off the map.New land has to have the most beavers since no one is trapping there. EndFragment
4. Follow experienced trappers.The greatest danger is getting lost in these trackless mountains. You don’t really know where you’re going.Follow the guys who have been here for years.Surely they’ll lead you to the best places to hunt. EndFragment
• Add up points from section one. • Subtract from 80. • Write the total on your game piece and move it on the points chart on the board.
Add up points
Money for Free Trappers
FREE TRAPPERS ONLY!Each free trapper rolls for him or herself. • Roll the die. • If you rolled a 1, 2, or 3, you LOST money. Lose 2 life points. • If you rolled a 4, you BROKE EVEN. Your score is the same. • If you rolled a 5 or 6, you GAINED MONEY. Add 2 life points.
Discuss: What were the risks and rewards of being a Mountain Man?
Money for Company Trappers
COMPANY TRAPPERS ONLY! • Gain 3 life points for the $300 salary you just got paid. • It doesn’t matter how many furs you caught - you get paid the same.
• Add up points from section two. • Write the total on your game piece and move it on the points chart on the board.
Why choose to be a mountain man?
What were the risks? • Cold • Hunger • Animal attacks • Fights with Native Americans • Accidents • Illnesses • Staying in debt • Getting lost • Losing furs or supplies
What were the rewards of being a mountain man? • Adventure • New lands • Freedom • Health • Wealth/get rich
"The difference between a hired and a free trapper was greatly in favor of the latter. The hired trapper was regularly indentured [worked under contract], and bound not only to hunt and trap for his employers, but also to perform any duty required of him in camp. . . . In return for this toilsome service he received an outfit of traps, arms and ammunition, horses, and whatever his service required. Besides his outfit, he received no more than three or four hundred dollars a year as wages." StartFragment EndFragment Source: Francis Fuller Victor, The River of the West: The Adventures of Joe Meek. (Missoula: Mountain Press, 1983): 49EndFragment
Evaluate your choice
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