The Red River Trails

Cover Image for The Red River Trails, by Carolyn Ives Gilman, Rhoda Gilman and Deborah M.

In the mid-19th century, a network of unpaved roadways carried an international trade in furs and merchandise between the growing commercial center of St. Paul, Minnesota, and the colony that became Winnipeg, Manitoba. These were the legendary Red River Trails–rutted, tangled oxcart routes as important to their region as the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails to theirs. The many difficulties and occasional rewards of early travel along them are highlighted in this book, along with Minnesota’s relations with what became western Canada and insights into the development of business in the state. The meeting of Indian and European cultures is vividly manifested by the mixed-blood Metis who became the mainstay of the Red River trade.

Every Canadian and American driver who makes the trip [from Winnipeg to St. Paul] should read The Red River Trails!…Its special contribution is in creating a feeling for the period and the place….Both good history and good historical geography.                     North Dakota History