Shoshone Indian guide who led the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–06). Having been captured by Hidatsa Indians, she had been separated from her people for nearly 10 years when the expedition began. Carrying her infant son on her back, she traveled thousands of wilderness miles with the expedition. At one point in the journey, Sacagawea was instrumental in obtaining horses and guides from a band of Shoshone (led by her brother Cameahwait); without them the expedition might well have ended. Her fortitude in the face of hazards and deprivations became legendary.
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McMurtry dedicated the book to Barbara Epstein, editor of the NYRB.