I leave this here as a warning. A warning to all who have heard the tales, to those who have shaken the hand of prosperity or greed, and attempted to make their own way to the promised land.
My name is Elliot and hard times had found their way to my farm in Illinois. I knew the risk but couldn’t stand to see my family (my loving wife Joanne and our three gorgeous, gorgeous children) go so thin and pale like those I’d seen lining gutters in the streets of town, all hope a passing shade lost in those drooping eyes. I simply couldn’t allow such a fate then, but now… now I only wish I could be offered such a gracious opportunity. My eldest, Jane, fell overboard when we tried to forge a river, her slim body unable to fight the tide. Dear Henry fell poisoned with a snakebite inflicted upon him while he stood leaning against the side of our own wagon. And Edward, little Edward, barely of age to take four of his own steps unaided, went quiet with the same disease that felled his own mother; the same disease that I know grips my innards and coats them with the blood trying to push itself through my veins like our deceased oxen did against these satanic winds.
It is here with my last fleeting bits of strength that I cast warning to all those who think that they seek opportunity on this: beware of the Oregon Trail. Beware its liquid chasms lined with the bones of many a family trying to forge their way. Beware every breathing and non-breathing thing that might exist in between each grain and speck of sand. Beware Mother Nature, for she is never your friend. Jump on every nerve of caution that passes through your mind. Take every precaution imaginable. Please. Do not do it for me. Do it for yourselves. Do it for my Joanne, my Jane, my Henry and Edward, and the countless others I know have faced the same fate. And now… I think… I-, I-
YOU HAVE DIED OF DYSENTERY.