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Red and White Pirogues Traversing the Missouri River,1804

The oars are pulled stroke after stroke to propel the red and white pirogues across the river. The crew, moving west against the current of the Missouri River, has decided to try the calmer water that lay on the opposite bank. A lush virgin forest unfolds bend after bend before the eyes of America's first explorers of the West. The smaller, more agile pirogues have taken the lead for the more heavily burdened keelboat. This scouting exercise must have been repeated day after day. With few navigational aids and maps, each day is a new world; and, each bend in the river a new piece of an unfolding puzzle that is the newly acquired land of the Louisiana Purchase.

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