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Most Americans have heard the story of Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery that was sent by Thomas Jefferson to explore the new Louisiana Purchase from 1804-1806. What most people do not realize is that Jefferson also commissioned a second expedition to explore the southern areas of that new frontier. The president asked William Dunbar, a Mississippi planter/scientist/surveyor and George Hunter, a Philadelphia chemist/apothecary to lead that expedition on the Red, Black and Ouachita Rivers up to "the hot springs." The two men and their crew mapped, described flora and fauna, tested the waters of the Hot Springs area and sent Thomas Jefferson the first report on the huge territory that had just been purchased from France. Unlike Lewis and Clark, the story of Dunbar and Hunter has been long left out of the Louisiana Purchase story. Since the two hundreth anniversary of that event will be celebrated in 2003, it seems fitting that their story is told in this film for all Americans to remember.
"I have determined to make an excursion up the Washita river & to the hot springs, this interesting part of Louisiana cannot be seen by the party in the Spring. I therefore give it a preference..." William Dunbar to Thomas Jefferson August 18, 1804