In 1849 Joseph Rogidoux III of St. Joseph, Missouri, licensed in the Indian trade, ordered removal of his outfit from the vicinity of Fort Laramie to this strategic pass over Scotts Bluff, where there was ample wood and water. Evidence from several emigrant diaries, together with artifacts found at the site, confirm the location of his new post at a point about 300 yard north-northeast of here at the intersection of the big spring-fed ravine to your right, flowing north, and the smaller drainage descending eastward from the crest of the pass.
The trading post and its relation to the two ravines is noted in the 1850 journal of Capt. John Stansbury while traveling eastward: "Scotts Bluff - at a small rivulet, row of old deserted houses. [Also] spring at foot of the Sandstone Bluffs, where the (emigrant) road crosses the ridge."
The ruts of the Oregon-California Trail approaching from the east are still clearly visible as they ascend toward the head of the ravine, at the foot of the bluff behind you. However, erosion has obliterated evidence of the actual crossing of the ravine.
In 1850 Robidoux's place is described by James Bennett as "a row of rudely constructed huts composed of cedar logs and mud," serving as a trading post or store, blacksmith shop, and dwellings, usually surrounded by Indian
families of the Robidoux clan. The principal ones identified by emigrants were son Joseph Robidoux IV and nephew Antoine Robidoux.
Since the original intention of the Robidoux family was to trade with the Indians for buffalo robes, they were probably at first dismayed by the sudden invasion of their domain by a large army of covered-wagon emigrants bound for the California goldfields. However, they seem to have adjusted rapidly to this development. The traders did a land-office business with the emigrants, principally in providing blacksmith services, though there was also a brisk trade in staples and whiskey. Another bonanza for the traders was the frequent abandonment of wagons and surplus gear and supplies by overloaded emigrants, which added to the Robidoux inventory.
Despite this unexpected property, for whatever reason in later 1850 the Robidoux family abandoned their trading post here and built a new one about one mile to the southeast, over the bluffs in a place now called Carter Canyon, which was rarely visited by emigrants and probably was soon abandoned. A famous visitor to the Carter Canyon site was Father Pierre Jean DeSmet in the autumn of 1851, following the great gathering of Indian tribes at Horse Creek during the negotiations for the first Fort Laramie peace treaty. During the early 1851 Emigration season the Robidoux Pass post was reopened to trade with the emigrants. However, later that season the Robidoux family finally abandoned the pass altogether and established posts on the trail at points both east and west of Scotts Bluff, the former at the fork in the trail near present Melbeta, the latter where the two trail branches rejoin at Horse Creek, near present Lyman, Nebraska.