Éttienne de Veniard, sieur de Bourgmont was the first known white man to systematically explore the Missouri River basin and was the first to record his findings. After leaving France a convicted juvenile delinquent, Bourgmont settled in Canada and joined the military. When an Indian attack on Fort Pontchartrain (near modern day Detroit) damaged Bourgmont's reputation, the acting commander escaped to the wilderness. He lived with Indians for years at a time and became a notorious and powerful figure among the them, eventually becoming the king's personal envoy to the tribes that complicated France's desire for western expansion. The following journal entries chronicle Bourgmont's expedition to negotiate peace between and among the French, Pawnee, Oto, Kansa, and Padouca (or Plains Apache) Native American tribes.
This is the main expedition's travel journal. French historians believe the journal was written by mining engineer Philippe de La Renaudière. The handwriting of his signature at the bottom of the document seems to match the writing of the journal entries. The story also seems to be written by a well-educated person and someone who was present daily. Besides Bourgmont, La Renaudière is the only member who fits that description.