An early 19th century litograph of the St. Louis waterfront.
In 1804 the upstream trip to
the Mandan Villages on the upper Missouri River took many months to
accomplish, but the trip downstream from the Knife River, in 1806,
only took a few weeks.
An artists depiction of Lewis and Clark with Sakakawea,
and Clark's slave, York, in the background.
By then, the Corps of Discovery had said farewell to Jim Colter
at the confluence with the Yellowstone. As his fellow
explorers floated with the currents back to the Mississippi, the
now-legendary Colter turned west and spent the next winter alone
exploring the Yellowstone country. His stories of steaming
gysers and boiling rivers - in what would become the world's first
national park - were heard at first with scoffs of disbelief.