History: The ’74 Mounties: The Great March Across the Plains – Part 4

Reprinted from the April 1950 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

The ’74 Mounties: The Great March Across the Plains – Part 4
By Major Fred A. Bagley, late of Banff, Alberta 

‘The Noisy Red River Cart

Winter snows and summer rains
Met you as you crossed the plains.
But your heart was brave and strong,
Like the ones you brought along.

Groaning, creaking, as you’d start –
Just an old Red River cart.
Held in one by wooden bolts,
Bravely taking all the jolts.

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(Anon.)

The Red River cart was, above all, a noise maker. It was made wholly of oak, and it was the boast of its makers, and of the halfbreed drivers, that there was not a particle of metal in its make-up. Applying lubricant to an axle was unheard of, and breakdowns were frequent. No old time Red River cart but had yards of Shaganappi (rawhide) wrapped around its spokes and felloes. (By the way, there may be some who are unaware that the original, unabridged name of Moose Jaw was “The place where the white men mended the cart with Shaganappi and the jaw bone of a moose”.)

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