"I defy the annals of chivalry to furnish the record of a life more wild and perilous than that of a Rocky Mountain trapper."
Prior to 1825 at the end of the winters trapping season, the fur trappers had to carry their furs to St. Louis to be sold to the fur companies. They would then purchase the many supplies they would need for the upcoming trapping season and then begin the long journey back to the mountains.
General William Ashley of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company started the tradition of the rendezvous in 1825. He decided to bring the supplies to the mountain men thereby creating a monopoly of buying furs and selling supplies.
What began as a practical gathering to exchange pelts for supplies and reorganize trapping units soon evolved into a month long carnival in the middle of the wilderness. The gathering was not confined to just trappers; it also attracted Indians, French Canadians, and travelers.
James Beckworth described the festivities as a scene of "mirth, songs, dancing, shouting, trading, running, jumping, singing, racing, target-shooting, spinning yarns, frolic, with all sorts of extravagances that white men or Indians could invent were freely indulged in.” An easterner gave his view: "mountain companies are all assembled on this season (at rendezvous) and make as crazy a set of men I ever saw."
The last Rendezvous was held in 1840 on the Green River near today’s Pinedale, Wyoming.