How could I describe an imaginary yet prototypical pioneer who moved west following the Civil War. Rather than the typical pioneer, my partner and I were assigned alligator wrestlers that traveled and put on shows throughout the south and west. Need some help understanding who were my enemies, what tools or innovations allowed my pioneer to survive, what problems or natural threats did he face and where did he likely settle.
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Presumably, given the premise that alligators are involved, the pioneers in question began their migration west from the American southeast, as that is where alligators and crocodiles are primarily found in North America. For purposes of discussion, and because of the large population of reptiles there, especially alligators, we will assume a starting point in Florida. Alligators, especially adults, are very large and very heavy, so transporting them would require use of a wagon, and one that can carry the large quantities of water alligators need. Food wouldn’t be a problem, as alligators eat pretty much anything, including people. The wagon would probably be of the Conestoga type, which were both covered – essential for both the alligators and the pioneers, given the intensity of heat in that region – and ruggedly built both to carry heavy loads and to endure difficult terrain. At least two horses would be needed, preferably four, to pull the wagon and to transport additional supplies.
As the pioneers headed west from Florida and the Gulf Coast, the threat from Native tribes would be present in certain areas. The Seminole tribe of modern-day Florida was already largely pacified, its wars having been fought early in the century, but other tribes along the route west would present a potential threat. Cherokee and Comanche raiding parties would be a threat, as would renegade factions of the numerous other tribes along the way. Banditry would also be a routine threat, but a display of full-grown alligators would almost certainly scare off most intruders.
Alligators are capable of eating very large amounts of food, but can also go without food for very long periods of time, up to months or even a year, so feeding them would not be overly pressing, although keeping them satiated would be a good idea anyway. Rifles would be needed to kill wild animals for the pioneers to eat, and plentiful supplies of fresh water would be needed. Depending upon the time of year, and presumably the trek would be started in summer, warm clothing would be needed, as temperatures in northern Texas and Oklahoma can get cold.
As the pioneers are alligator wrestlers, a good supply of first-aid equipment would be wise, especially gauzes and threads and needles for suturing puncture wounds.
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