This article analyzes the unusual trading post concentration—Fort Vasquez, Fort Jackson, Fort Lupton, and Fort St. Vrain—that operated simultaneously along the South Platte River during the late 1830s. These trading posts, or forts, dealt almost exclusively in bison robes provided by Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho hunters. The reasons behind this trading locus, which was unique to the fur trade era of the western Great Plains, are examined in the context of indigenous instrumentality and ecological factors. Heretofore unexamined environmental and archaeological data combined with historical research into intertribal conflict and place provide a more holistic explanation for this unique conjuncture.

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