Synopsis by Alice Day
While his name may not be as well known as those of Lewis and Clark, Jedediah Smith was the first American to journey into California from the East, moving across the Great Mojave Desert. On his return, he was the first to cross the Great Basin Desert, enduring tremendous hardship and suffering. A fur trapper, he went in search of the beaver, whose fur was much in demand for stylish men of the era. As he traveled, he created maps, which later proved invaluable for those who headed out West. Smith's remarkable contributions are described in Ten Who Dared: Jedediah Smith.