Although a host of adventurers stormed west in 1806 after Lewis and Clark’s safe return, seven of them left unique legacies because of their monumental journeys, their lionhearted spirit in the face of hardship, and the way their paths intertwined time and again. The Perilous West tells this riveting story in depth for the first time, focusing on each of the seven explorers in turn – Ramsay Crooks, Robert McClellan, John Hoback, Jacob Reznor, Edward Robinson, Pierre Dorion, and Marie Dorion. These seven counted the Tetons, Hells Canyon, and South Pass among their discoveries. More importantly, they forged the Oregon Trail–a path destined to link the Atlantic coast with the Pacific, spurring national expansion as it carried trappers, soldiers, pioneers, missionaries, and gold-seekers westward. The PerilousWest begins in 1806, when Crooks and McClellan meet Lewis and Clark, and the vast expanse from the Dakotas to the Pacific coast appears a commercial paradise. The story ends in 1814, when a band of French Canadian trappers rescue Marie Dorion, and even John Jacob Astor’s well-financed enterprise has ended in violence and chaos, placing the protagonists squarely in the context of Thomas Jefferson’s monumental opening of the West, which stalled with the War of 1812.