Wagon Train followed the trials and tribulations of pioneering families as they set out from the East to carve out a new life in the West soon after the American Civil War. For some of the travellers it was a happy ending, but not for all, which only heightened the drama along the way.
Runtime: 60 minutes
Wagon Train - Meek Cutoff - Netflix
The Meek Cutoff was a covered wagon road that branched off the Oregon Trail in northeastern Oregon. The road is named for frontiersman Stephen Meek, who was hired to lead the first wagon train along it in 1845. The journey was a particularly hard one, and many of the pioneers lost their lives. Starting where the Oregon Trail leaves the Snake River Plain and heads northwest to find the Columbia River Gorge (the general route of today's Interstate 84), Meek's party intended to instead head west across the Oregon High Desert, straight to the Willamette Valley. They left the main trail at Vale, Oregon and followed the Malheur River to head into the Harney Basin. They then turned west towards Wagontire Mountain, and northwest to the south fork of the Crooked River. At this point, due to hardship, the party split into two groups, each of which found the Deschutes River. The two groups reunited north of where the Crooked River empties into the Deschutes and, deflecting from their original westward purpose, followed the river to the Columbia and rejoined the Oregon Trail at The Dalles. In 1853, the Elliott Cutoff was established, completing Meek's purpose by turning upstream at the Deschutes River for 30 miles and then crossing the Cascade Mountains at Willamette Pass.
Wagon Train - History - Netflix
In 1845 there were rumors circulating among the emigrants on the Oregon Trail that the Walla Walla and Cayuse Indians might possibly attack the settlers in the Blue Mountains of Oregon or along the Columbia River. Reports of threats came in conjunction with the murder of two Frenchmen in the area. Stephen Meek, the older brother of Joe Meek, was an experienced fur trapper and explorer who made his living as a wagon train guide. Meek was unemployed at the time but was considered to be someone who was familiar with eastern Oregon. When he offered the emigrants an alternate route to avoid the Blue Mountains many decided to follow him. Some 200 wagons and 1,000 people turned off the primary Oregon Trail at Vale and followed Meek into the Oregon desert where no wagons had traveled before.
Wagon Train - References - Netflix