James Beckwourth is one of the most interesting of Old West characters. He was present during the Bear Flag Rebellion, the Seminole War, and the Sand Creek Massacre. He was—at various times—a trader, merchant, prospector, gambler, hotel manager, trail blazer, and so much more.
It’s a remarkable legacy, but one that is often slighted. The reason: Beckwourth was mixed race, so his exploits were either downplayed or ignored during his lifetime. Unfortunately, that has continued through today.