History comes to life during exhibit

Almost like being in a time

machine, the Museumof the Mountain Man

hosted its annual American Mountain Man

Living History Days drawing volunteers from

all over the country come together to recreate


Utah resident Kris Swanson, more commonly

known as Sharp Knife, travels from the

end of March to the end of October for events

like this. She lives out of her teepee at each


Swanson specializes in the 1800s fur trade

and Indian Wars eras. “Everyone talks about

the mountain men, but we wouldn’t have fur

trade without the Indians,” Swanson said.

She also focuses on the women of that

time. Swanson explained that women did a

lot of the work when it came to the fur trade.

Mountain men would marry Indian women,

which gained them connections. The women

also did a lot of the preparation on items for

the fur trade.

Doc Ibory and Trapper Killsmany are good

friends within the community. For the two of

them, this is not a reenactment, but a lifestyle.

The two of them go about this all year round.

“People play mountain men; we are mountain

men,” Ibory said.

While a lot of people say they are crazy for

living like they do, they see those people as

crazy for living in a town.

“It’s how we’re supposed to live,” Killsmany


Killsmany and Ibory go as far as to grow

their own crops and catch their own water.

They hardly find that they need use of the

things many other people are accustomed to.

Moci has been into reenactments for Longer

than 30 years. Moci was visiting Fort

Bridger in 1985 when he was introduced to

the idea of mountain men reenactments.

“It felt like playing dress-up,” Moci said, “I

didn’t want that. I wanted to live it.”

Later on, Moci dragged his unwilling wife

into the community as well. “She went …

kicking and screaming.” Moci shared that his

wife later grew accustomed and even started to

enjoy it. “Now, we both go at it hard.”

Moci also shared that the community of the

American Mountain Men is a true friendship.

He stated that the friendships they make with

one another are real. If one of them was in

trouble, the others would flock toward them.

“It’s a family,” Moci said.


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