Harsh conditions, back-breaking work, treacherous terrain, and an uncharted path. That is what twenty-seven men volunteered for on Lewis and Clark's Expedition to the Pacific Ocean in 1804. The twenty-eighth man, called York, did not choose to go. Enslaved people did not have choices. Yet, York's contributions were essential to the mission's success.
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark came to rely on York's judgement, determination, and peacemaking role with the American Indian nations they encountered on their trek. But as York's independence and esteem rose throughout the journey, a question remained: What would his fate be at the end of the successful expedition?