James Felix Bridger, known as Jim Bridger (March 17, 1804 – July 17, 1881), was among the foremost mountain men, trappers, scouts and guides who explored and trapped the Western United States during the decades of 1820–1850, as well as mediating between native tribes and encroaching whites. He was of English ancestry, and his family had been in North America since the early colonial period.
Jim Bridger had a strong constitution that allowed him to survive the extreme conditions he encountered walking the Rocky Mountains from what would become southern Colorado to the Canadian border. He had conversational knowledge of French, Spanish and several native languages. He would come to know many of the major figures of the early west, including Kit Carson, George Armstrong Custer, John Fremont, Joseph Meek, and John Sutter.
By Dean Hanley
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