1997 "First Edition - 1997" stated on copyright page; by Robert M. Utley; Henry Holt and Company publishers, New York; hardback; very good condition with unmarked pages; dust jacket very good; The book is illustrated with black-and-white drawings and maps, and sixteen pages of full-color relief maps made by Peter Dana of the University of Texas.
Early in the nineteenth century, the mountain men emerged as a small but distinctive group whose knowledge and experience of the Trans-Mississippi West extended the national consciousness to continental dimensions. Though Lewis and Clark blazed a narrow corridor of geographical reality in 1803-1805, the West remained largely terra incognita until trappers and traders such as Jim Bridger, Kit Carson, Tom Fitzpatrick, and Jedediah Smith opened paths through the snow-choked mountain wilderness of the America West. Collectively, they came to know every stream, mountain crag, canyon cataract, waterless stretch of plain, refuge of game, and Indian hideout. By the time the beaver market collapsed in the late 1830s, the mountain men's remarkable familiarity with the land provided a map across the Rockies, the Great Plains, the Mexican Southwest, the disputed Oregon territory, and California. They had already helped the first missionaries across the continent to lay the groundwork for the wagon trains that followed. Kit Carson opened the way west to Fremont and with others, played a major role in the pivotal years of 1845-1848, when Texas was annexed, the Oregon question decided, the Mexican War ended with the Southwest and California in American hands, and the Pacific Ocean formed the nation's western boundary. A groundbreaking work of American history by one of the country's most respected scholars, A Life Wild and Perilous is also a dramatic story of innovation, and survival.