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Photo of wagons and riders rounding a bend in the trail
Wagons and riders rounding a bend in the trail, Pipestone Reservoir area, near Jamestown, North Dakota, June 1998

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Fort Seward Wagon Train
A Local Legacy

Do you know what a wagon train is?

During the 19th century, settlers in the United States who wanted to move out West usually traveled by covered wagons in large groups. People would meet in the early spring to hire guides, elect leaders, and gather supplies before leaving on their journey as a wagon train.

Every summer, more than 100 people meet at Fort Seward, near Jamestown, North Dakota, to re-enact the wagon train experience and live like pioneer families. For a week, they travel in canvas-covered wagons pulled by mules or workhorses. A "chuck" wagon provides their meals. Everyone dresses in late-19th century-style clothing. Women wear long dresses, aprons, and bonnets, and men wear vests and suspenders. Every night, the wagons circle around a campsite, and trail riders share stories, music and crafts, just as the early American pioneers did over a century ago.

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