Great Moments in History: Lewis and Clark Discover They’re Not in St. Louis Anymore

by Jim Farrar (1975)

The date is October 18, 1803. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, on a monumental exploration of the land acquired in the Louisiana Purchase, have just ascended a mountain of considerable size and are now viewing the majestic valley below. This is where we shall begin our narrative. One thing worth mentioning though, the events occurring in this story are (more or less) true. The following dialogue has been derived from Mr. Lewis’ journal and diary, so the author shoulders no responsibility for any lurid events that should occur nor for the ridiculous idea from whence this story came. So without further adieu, we present to you the Banana Boys, Lewie and Clarkie.

October 18

“Big valley. Right Bill?”

“Biggest damn thang I ever seen.”

“What should we call this big valley?”

“How ‘bout Big Valley.”

“Brilliant. We’ll call it Big Valley. Write that down Meriwether. Now, for more pressing problems.”



“I’m Bill.”


“You said ‘write that down Meriwether.’ Now how can I write that down Meriwether if my name ain’t Meriwether?”

“You’re right. I’d better write that down Meriwether before we forget. Big Valley, right Bill?”

“Biggest damn thang I ever seen.”

“So we’ll call it Big Valley, okay?”

“Right. So you better write that down Bill.”

“You’re Bill.”

“Good observation. You’ve got the stuff that explorers are made of. I’ll write that down.”

“Now for more pressing problems.”

“Is you’re shirt wrinkled again?”

“Not that kind of pressing problem! Our problem is getting off this big mountain.”

“Oh. I thought you wanted to know where the nearest bar was.”

“No. We’ll worry about that when we get to the bottom. Any suggestions as to how we get off?”

“Take the ski lift.”

“No, it’s still under construction.”

“Rent a helicopter.”

“No. Can’t do that. It hasn’t been invented yet.”

“There’s always a hitch, isn’t there? I guess we just slide down on our butts and then try not to sit down for a few days.”

“You really think that’s our only choice?”

“Well, we can always fell a few trees and build a house.”

“Very funny. Let’s go, if not for us, then for Thomas Jefferson.”

“Charge! (it at Penney’s).”

Great Moments in History Part II: Lewis and Clark Encounter Never Before Seen Wonders in the Wilderness

The following is an excerpt from William Clark’s diary, which he maintained throughout their milestone voyage. For the first time in history, we offer you a glimpse into the mind of one of the men who shaped our future. I sincerely hope that you will devour this treat as much as I did. But don’t eat it too fast – you’ll contract an acute case of indigestion.

October 22

Bored as hell. Watching Meriwether clean his musket. This is what he looks like:

I never did claim to be an artist. In fact I never did claim to be an explorer.

October 23

Saw another mountain range today. Boy, were they big mothers. This is what they look like:

At around noon we had lunch. I got a hamburger at McDonald’s Wilderness Hut. It wasn’t worth thirty bullets.

At about four-thirty (I think it was four-thirty, I’m not too good at reading these damn sundials) we discovered a huge lake. I asked Meriwether what we should name it. He said it would be a good idea it call it “water.” Nice guy, that Meriwether, but not too bright.

October 27

Met up with a band of Indians today. I don’t think any of them has had a bath in three years. Them Indians were dumb, too. Couldn’t speak a word of English. Sacagawea (I can’t even spell her stupid name. Why doesn’t she just call herself Jane?) could understand their jibberish. All I could make was “ungu nala siga jpa.” Big deal. They did have some pretty foxy-looking women though. They looked like this:

I think I’ve been in the woods too long. What I need is to go out and get myself so drunk that I couldn’t distinguish between a grizzly bear and a beaver.

October 29

I asked Meriwether what we should call the new land today. He said we should christen it Idaho, after the Indian word “eeh-da-how,” which means “the sun comes over the mountain.” I told him to go to hell. First of all, we weren’t anywhere near the mountains and it was an overcast day, so I don’t see how he came up with the name in the first place. Second, I didn’t like the name. I told him we should call it New New York, but he said we had to give the Indians equal time and give some of the territories Indian names. We finally settled on Montana.

November 3

Found evidence that we aren’t the first white men to come through this land. We discovered it quite by accident since we were about 500 miles too far south. At the top of a cliff we found what appeared to be a monument of some sort. It was a gigantic steel structure, painted red, white, and blue. Somebody had put it on the top of a big pile of dirt. It looked like this:

On the side of the monolith, the words EVEL KNIEVEL had been painted. An Indian god I suppose. Maybe the great spirit of the canyon.

November 4

Everybody’s sitting around the campfire. Meriwether found an interesting plant on the trail today and decided he wanted to try smoking it. A few people are acting real silly. Funny, but they’re the ones who have been smoking the strange weed. Meriwether thinks he’s a bird now. At least he seems to be happy. I guess I’ll by try some maybe it’ll pick up my spirits. I hope so.

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