The Oregon Trail was laid by fur traders from about 1811 to 1840, and was only passable on foot or by horseback. It was a 2,170-mile (3,490 km) historic East-West, large-wheeled wagon route and emigrant trail in the United States that connected the Missouri River to valleys in Oregon
Emigrants traveled west along the Oregon Trail for a variety of reasons, most were motivated either by land or gold.
Emigrants who set out for Oregon had to sell their homes, businesses and any possessions they couldn’t take with them. They also had to purchase hundreds of pounds of supplies including: flour, sugar, bacon, coffee, salt, and rifles and ammunition.
Most people died on the trail cause of diseases such as dysentery, cholera, smallpox or flu, or in accidents caused by inexperience, exhaustion and carelessness. It was not uncommon for people to be crushed beneath wagon wheels or accidentally shot to death, and many people drowned during perilous river crossings.
Towns were established along the Oregon Trail, the route continued to serve thousands of emigrants with “gold fever” on their way to California. It was also a main thoroughfare for massive cattle drives between 1866 and 1888.
Finally in 1890, the Oregon Trail came to en end. Railroads had all but eliminated the need to journey thousands of miles in a covered wagon. Settlers from the east were more than happy to hop a train and arrive in the West in one week instead of six months.