Many diaries of travelers on the Oregon-California Trail speak of good relations with Native Americans. Indians helped travelers by delivering their letters, pulling their wagons up steep banks, teaching them about edible plants, and keeping watch at night. Rather than fear the Indians, many travelers were fascinated by the native peoples.
There were several of them here, quite fine looking fellows...they were of the Sacs & Fox tribes. One was a chief, he was dressed in real indian stile (sic), had his hair shaved off all except the crown lock, which was tied up & ornamented with beads & feathers.
At times there was conflict between native populations and travelers. It was upsetting to Native Americans that the buffalo were being scared away. The prairie was being overgrazed, and the small quantity of timber was being exhausted. Water resources also were limited.
In contrast to popular belief more Native Americans were killed by travelers on the trail than travelers killed by Native Americans. Native Americans were more threatened by disease than by guns.