"History and Stories of Nebraska"
by Addison Erwin Sheldon

Produced by Connie Snyder


In the early fur trading days, about the year 1830, a party of trappers came down the North Platte River in canoes. A little way above where Laramie River joins the Platte their canoes were upset in the rapids and their supply of powder and food was lost. One of their number named Scott was taken sick and could not travel. At the same time his comrades found the fresh trail of another party of trappers. They left Scott alone at the mouth of the Laramie River, promising to return for him as soon as they had secured supplies from the other trappers.

Scott's Bluff.
(From photograph collection of A. E. Sheldon.)

Instead of returning they reported that he had died on the Laramie River and continued their journey down the North Platte. The next year trappers on their way to the mountains found the skeleton of Scott near a spring by the great bluff which now bears his name. Sick and starving he had dragged himself before dying forty miles down the river from the point where his comrades had deserted him.

His name survives in the great headland which rises eight hundred feet above the river, the most prominent landmark in the North Platte valley, while the names of his treacherous companions are lost.


  1. Why did Scott's companions desert him?
  2. How was their story proven untrue?
  3. Which would you rather have been, Scott or one of his companions?