For 100 years, before the dams were built on the Columbia-Snake river system, steamboats carried cargo and people to the farthest reaches of the rivers. Where water flowed, sturdy steamboats and bold captains went - with no navigational aids needed. William Polk Gray piloted steamboats on wilderness rivers from southwestern Idaho to northern Alaska. Gray was one of fifty or so captains who became as famous as sports stars are today. Bill Gulick, dean of Northwest history writers, tells the story of this colorful period in the region's history.
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