Madame Marie Dorion passed through Caldwell area in 1811 as the only female traveler in the Wilson Price Hunt Party on what would become a portion of the Oregon Trail through Southern Idaho. She would return to the area with her husband, Pierre Dorion, Jr. and the Reed Trapping Party as a member of the Pacific Fur Company in the fall of 1813. While working at a secondary camp near Caldwell in January 1814, she was advised by a friendly Indian that hostile Indians were nearby, John Reed remained at this camp while Madame Marie Dorion gathered her two small children and when in search of her husband with a warning of impending danger.
Upon reaching the remote trapping camp, Marie found a nearly dead Giles LeClerc. From him she learned her warning arrived too late to save the group. This resulted in her becoming the first known widow of a European spouse in the area destined to become Idaho. The Dorion Woman was the name first used by historian Washington Irving to describe this heroine for many years. When LeClerc died the Dorion Woman returned to the Caldwell camp where she discovered Reed and his men dead, leaving her and her children as the only survivors.
Until her rescue in April near present day Hilgard, Oregon, Marie Dorion's determination to save her children lead her on a 200-mile flight across the Blue Mountains of
Oregon in the dead of winter. Rescue came days after she spied a campfire in the distance. She hid her children until she ascertained the presence of friendly Walla Walla Indians. These rescuers were able to locate her children by following her route observing she crawled across the snow and ice in her desperate attempt to save her children's lives. Her survival tale, under indescribable odds remains the greatest example of a woman's courage and perseverance recorded in annals of western American history.