A saga of the early settlement of Oregon, of the opening up of the Oregon Trail which insured the United States possession of Oregon, but brought hardship and heartbreak in its wake, and of the first white woman to come over the trail, Narcissa Whitman, of a missionary doctor, Marcus Whitman. With the tiny band of missionaries, we cross the continent, face the problems of frontier settlement and adjustment, share the mounting fears as the first settlers are penalized for the failure of the government to establish proper relations with the Indians, fears which come to a head in the massacre which cost the Northwest the lives of the Whitmans, two of the greatest spirits of those troubled days. Good pioneer material- better viewed from that angle than from straight biography. Based on letters, diaries, contemporary source material. I found the illustrations by Wood Ishmael rather depressing. In format the book seems somewhat younger than its content.