Posted by Gayle on April 21, 1998 at 10:46:23:
Glad you liked the Natty B. piece. No question Boone was one of the prototypes - how could Cooper have resisted that wonderful reputation of his having moved west because of the population explosion of -- what was it? 10 to a square mile?
The info on the open faced Trappers' Cabins is interesting. I have tried to imagine how Natty must have survived the nearly 18 years he spent on the prairies (at his age!) and how he managed to construct any kind of shelter or protect himself against the awful heat and cold and wind and sand and tornados and snow. If Natty had not been captive to Cooper's desire to write about the western prairies, he would have reflected the Boone influence more. He had hunted and fought through Pennsylvania and down as far as West Virginia, so having stated that he craved to go back into the forest after he left Otsego Lake, more likely he would have ended up in Kentucky or Tennessee than on the western prairies. There were certainly plenty of unspoiled places he could have gone to without getting so radical about it as to end up wandering about out north of the Platte River. But, as you pointed out, Dan'l went to Missouri. So Natty went to Missouri. But Natty had to go Dan'l one better, 'cause Missouri had too much traffic on the river, or some such folderol.
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