Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Great Plains Quarterly Vol. 29, No. 2, Spring 2009, pp. 148-149


Copyright 2009 by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska- Lincoln


The importance of Saint Louis French merchants in the fur trade and the expansion of the American West during the first half of the nineteenth century is little known in spite of articles and monographs from the 1930s to the 1980s by historians such as John Francis McDermott, William E. Foley, and C. David Rice. A small number of articles by different authors have appeared in journals and anthologies. Shirley Christian published Before Lewis and Clark: The Story of the Chouteaus, the French Dynasty That Ruled America's Frontier in 2004, a work addressed to the general public.

Stan Hoig, known for his work on the Plains Indians and the Cherokees, now adds a major contribution to the history of the members of the Chouteau family who, with other French merchants, dominated the fur trade and in many ways traced the path for the American expansion into the West.