Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Connecting curious minds with uncommon, undeniably Northwest reads

Rediscovered Frontiersman

Timothy Goodale

James W. McGill


Quintessential frontiersman Timothy Goodale traveled west in 1839. His work included fur trapping, trading, ferrying, ranching, surveying, operating a fort, and accompanying Kit Carson on a 500-mile mule drive. Goodale learned several indigenous languages represented Native American interests to the federal government. In the early 1860s, he led the largest wagon train to ever cross Idaho, and the routes he pioneered impacted regional travel, settlement, and economic development for the next three decades.


Gift Wrap Design

Gift wrap ($5.00)


Timothy Goodale (1810-1869), and the Oregon Trail Cutoff that bears his name, loom large in the history of the West and overland travel. Author James W. McGill has rescued the man and his work in this thoroughly researched, comprehensive account of a remarkable western frontiersman, his Indian wife, and the trail he pioneered.

Goodale left his boyhood home in Potsdam, New York, in 1830 at age nineteen, seeking adventure and a new life in the West. Beginning as a fur trapper and trader throughout the West, he learned the routes of the Indians and shared their lives. He associated with Kit Carson, John C. Frémont, Frederick Lander, and many other notable westerners.

Rediscovered Frontiersman tells Goodale’s adventurous tale until his tragic death in 1869, and the after-story of his Lemhi Shoshone wife, Jennie, and descendants from the Goodale’s youngest daughter, Mary Winona. At various times he was an explorer, mountain man, hunter, cattle and sheep drover, emigrant and military guide, surveyor, road builder, trading post operator, ferryman, Indian-emigrant relations mediator, U.S. mail carrier, and Indian representative to the U.S. government.

The opening of the Goodale Cutoff in 1862, a mining trail to the goldfields in the mountains of Eastern Oregon and the Boise Basin in Idaho, is recounted in detail. Many maps illuminate that story.

James W. McGill has exhaustively studied Tim Goodale and his family, and for the past several years he has researched, explored, mapped, and photographed the 1862 Goodale Cutoff and the 1863 Variant. He is an active member of the Oregon-California Trails Association (OCTA). His past positions include National Historic Trails Mapping Chair, and for the Idaho Chapter, President, Trails Preservation Officer, and Trail Dust editor. He is a retired correctional counselor, school counselor, and special education administrator.

Published by the Oregon-California Trails Association

332 pages (2009)

Additional information

Dimensions 9 x 6 in