Mountain Men and Life in the Rocky

Subject Guide


Mountain West

Malachite’s Big Hole

Crucified by Prickly Pears:

Charles Larpenteur recalls the following incident which occured while packing supplies to the Rendezvous of 1833

"From this point to La Ramie's fort (Fort William or Fort Laramie) nothing took place worth mentioning except the overthrow of our long friend Marsh. It happened that, in traveling through a country thickly settled with prickly pears, bad luck would have it that a small particle of one accidentally found itself under the tail of his riding mule. The poor animal, finding itself so badly pricked, kicked and bucked at such a rate that our long friend was soon unsaddled, and thrown flat on his back in a large bunch of the prickly pears. Although he was over six feet in his stockings, the length of his limbs was not enough to reach out of the patch; and there he lay, begging for pity's sake of his comrades, as they passed by, to help him out of his prickly situation.  But all he heard in reply to his entreaties was bursts of laughter throughout the company as they passed by, till he was relieved by Mr. Johnesse (Basil Lajeunesse), who had charge of the rear. I could but pity the poor fellow, but, at the same time, his situation excited mirth. There he lay in a large bunch of prickly pears, stretched out as though he had been crucified.  Poor Marsh! I shall remember him as long as I live."  

Although Larpenteur indicates in his memoir Forty Years a Fur Trader, that this incident took place in 1833, Fort William was not constructed at this location until 1834.   

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