How to Get Rich on the Oregon Trail

My Adventures Among Cows, Crooks, and Heroes on the Road to Fame and Fortune

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Homage, Hurrahs, and Hymns of Praise

  • Teacher’s Choice Award, 2010

“The exemplary How to Get Rich in the California Gold Rush (2008) finds a worthy successor in this offering in the How to Get Rich series. This time the action follows young Will Reed and his family as they set off from Illinois to find their fortune along the 2,000-mile Oregon Trail. As with the previous volume, the action is humorously purported to be true, although the editors suggest viewing the story with ‘skeptical inquiry.’ But informing Will’s impish sketches and wry journal entries is a wealth of information about life along the trail, including the construction of their “chariot,” the perilous river crossings, and threats from both cholera and the Indian attacks. An ongoing ledger calculates the family’s balance as it fluctuates from $10.70 to $3,021.70, but it’s clear that this journey is more about survival than riches. The illustrations, historical anecdotes, and run-ins with everyone from the Mormons to escaped slaves to Abraham Lincoln form a perfect blend of history and humbuggery.”
–Daniel Kraus, Booklist