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Medical News and Perspectives
March 12, 2003

Medicine on the Lewis and Clark Trail

JAMA. 2003;289(10):1227-1230. doi:10.1001/jama.289.10.1227

Meriwether Lewis must have been exultant on August 11, 1806. After 28 months, the expedition—an ambitious venture to explore the western part of the continent, proposed by President Thomas Jefferson—was nearly over. Lewis, his cocaptain William Clark, and a pack of grizzled woodsmen had struggled up the Missouri River, wintered in North Dakota, crossed the Rockies, wintered again on the Oregon coast, and backtracked across the mountains.

On that day, Lewis awaited Clark and a small party after taking the main group down the Yellowstone River. Once reunited, an easy 3-week float would land them in St Louis as heroes.

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