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When Mary Rockwood Powers left her comfortable home in Wisconsin in 1846 with her doctor husband and three children, she was a reluctant emigrant. Like many women of her time, her fate lay not in her hands but in those of her husband, and she was forced to leave behind home and family for the arduous overland trek on the Oregon Trail. Shortly into their travels west, it became painfully obvious that Doctor Powers was simply not up to the task of making sure his family "outlasted the trail" and Mary had to step in and become the head of the household with its canvas roof and wheels--leaving behind her ideals of femininity along with her beloved possessions. Beautifully told, this is a story that will wrench at the heart as the reader uncovers the trials behind this remarkable woman's journey west.
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