Following an arduous overland journey, Levi Scott joined Jesse Applegate's 1846 expedition seeking a safer way through the Cascades to Oregon's Willamette Valley. The party wound through the Umpqua Valley, three mountain ranges, and the Black Rock Desert before intersecting the California Trail. While others went ahead to prepare the road, Scott led the initial group of emigrants on a harrowing trip west. He retraced the trail in 1847 and 1849. Edited and extensively annotated, Scott's previously unpublished autobiography is the only first-hand account by someone who searched for the southern route and accompanied its first wagon train.