Kit Carson is more than a man; he’s a distillation of the American West. He’s the sort of guy where the idea of him eclipses who he was.
People started writing fictional accounts of his deeds long before he was dead. So-called “Blood and Thunder” Western stories could be had for a quarter back east. They depicted a stoic Indian-slayer, who stalked villages and murdered their inhabitants before morning light found the canyon walls.
The actual man was complex in his dealings with Native peoples. That complicated relationship is what we’re diving into today.
Reports of Kit’s Life are Greatly Exaggerated
Here’s the thing: you don’t need to exaggerate about Kit Carson. He is the stereotypical mountain man with everything you could want in his story. Action, adventure, fights with Indians, solo cross-country treks carrying important news, surviving winter in a buffalo robe with only his wits and his fire to keep him alive.
Kit Carson was the quintessential mountain man in the era when mountain men were dying and not being replaced.
Next Week on Nature’s Call: Annette McGivney
We’re very excited to announce that next week on the show, I’ll be interviewing Annette McGivney, southwest editor of Backpacker, and author of Pure Land, a new book about the murder of Tomomi Hanamure, a hiker, who was murdered while visiting the Grand Canyon. I highly recommend the book and I’m looking forward to interviewing someone who’s been backpacking for longer than I’ve been alive.