How Did Lewis & Clark Become Famous American Explorers?

Narrator: Hey, Smarty Pants. Guess where I am. Did you say Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the year 1803? Wow! Great guess. Also, how’d you know that? Are you psychic Anyway, whether you guessed it or not doesn’t matter. The fact is I’m about to join two of America’s most famous adventurers on one of the most important expeditions in US history. Then he guesses, did you say Lewis and Clark’s journey across the American West?

Lewis: Did someone say Lewis?

Narrator: I did.

Lewis: Why? I am Merryweather Lewis.

Narrator: As in President Thomas Jefferson’s former private secretary, chosen to head up this famous expedition.

Lewis: You left out former Army captain and sharpshooter, but yes, that’s me also. What do you mean famous? It hasn’t happened yet.

Narrator: That’s true. Never mind that I’m the trusty narrator, nice to meet you. What brings you to Pittsburgh?

Lewis: Oh, we are putting the finishing touches on the 55 foot keelboat we’ll be using to travel across this huge country. You see, the main reason President Jefferson is sending us on this trip is to see if there’s a water route going all the way from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean that would open up the entire country to travel and trade. Oh, and he’s also hoping if we get to the Pacific first, it’ll help us claim that land for the USA instead of those pesky British

Narrator: My word, I see. I’d also imagine Jefferson wants you to explore that big piece of land he just bought from France. You may have heard of it. Smarty Pence, the Louisiana Purchase.

Lewis: You bet. The president bought a huge patch of territory stretching from Louisiana to Montana for only $15 million, which practically doubled the size of the country. Part of our job is finding out what he bought and to keep track of any new animals or plants we find. That’s why the official name of our unit is the core of discovery.

Narrator: Sounds, exciting. No one other than Native Americans has ever been to that part of the country.

Lewis: Yes. We have no idea what we’re going to find. President Jefferson says, we may even run into wooly mammoths and giant ground sloths from free historic times.

Narrator: Right, Spoiler alert. There is zero chance of that.

Lewis: What do you mean?

Narrator: Nothing, do you mind if I tag along on your adventure?

Lewis: Sure, why not

Narrator: Great, because I have lots of questions like who’s Clark? What happened on your journey and how did Sacagawea save you?

Lewis: I’m sorry. Sacagawea

Narrator: Oh, sorry. I keep forgetting. You don’t know what happens. Anyway, we’ll get to her in a bit. In the meantime, get ready for another whiff of science and history on:

Who Smarted? And Who Smarted? Who Smart? Is it you? Is it me? Is it science or history? Listen up everyone. We make smart lots of fun on Who Smarted?

Okay. I’m here with not quite famous yet, Explorer Merryweather Lewis and around 40 other men. As we’re about to launch one of the most famous expeditions in American exploration, you sure Packed a lot of stuff, Lewis.

Lewis: Oh yes. We’ve got three boats, two horses, camping, gear, maps, medicines, rifles, and food, as well as gifts for the Native Americans we meet along the way. We’ve got pocket mirrors, fancy combs, sewing needles, tobacco, ribbons, knives. We even have some hollowed out tomahawks they can use as pipes.

Narrator: The only thing that’s missing is

Lewis: Clark

Narrator: Where’s Clark?

Lewis: Ah, yes. My partner William Clark Clarky, he is waiting for us in St. Louis. The gateway to the west, come on, let’s launch the boats and we’re off.

Narrator: Hey, Smarty Pants. How long did it take Lewis and Clark to go all the way to the Pacific Ocean and back? Was it six months, two years, or five years?

Lewis: The answer is two years.

Narrator: Overall, their group traveled roughly 7,000 miles covering about 10 to 20 miles per day.

Lewis: You sure know a lot about stuff that hasn’t happened yet. Are you a fortune teller or like a future dweller? Oh, look, there’s a huge dog.  Ah, meet seamen. Seamen are Newfoundland new fins are great swimmers and or train to rescue people from the water, which might come in handy. Plus it’ll be nice to have around in case we run into any ornery animals.

Narrator: Well, good luck on your trip to St. Louis. I tend to get C six oh. I’ll just use my teleporter app to meet up with you later in your journey.

Lewis: Teleporter. Oh look, the trustY narrator’s back.

Narrator: Lewis. It’s cold out here.

Speaker 2: What did you expect? We’re in North Dakota, hunkering down for our first winter. Allow me to introduce my partner, William Clark

Clarky: Clarky Howdy, Hi,

Lewis: Clarky and I are old Army buddies, not to mention Clark’s the best mapmaker around, which is perfect because President Jefferson wants us to keep a very detailed record of what all this land looks like.

Narrator: Makes sense? Oh, is that young lady over Sacagawea?

Clarky: It sure it is. She’s a Native American woman from the Shoshone tribe. We met her when we arrived in North Dakota.

Lewis: I’m glad we did. Even though she’s only 16, we’re hoping she can provide an invaluable service for our trip.

Narrator: Hey, Smarty Pants. What do you think Lewis and Clark need Sacagawea to do? Did you say help them communicate with Native Americans they meet along the way. If so, you are right.

Clarky: Yes. She’ll be our invaluable interpreter.

Lewis: Not to mention having her with us will help signal to everyone we meet that we come in peace.

Narrator: Good thinking. So what’s been the highlight of the trip so far?

Lewis: Well, for one thing, we’ve encountered almost 300 new kinds of plants and animals.

Clarky: Well, new to us at least, like coyotes and this little guy.

Lewis: Ooh, how cute. I know. We can’t decide what to call it. I like wilderness rat, but Clarky prefers prairie dog.

Narrator: What do you think? Smarty Pants Yeah. I think we’re going with Clark on this one. What else did I miss?

Clarky: Oh, rat. We were chased by the Spanish army.

Narrator: Smarty pence. Why would the Spanish army go after Lewis and Clark? Was it because A They thought Lewis and Clark were spying on them.

B- They thought Lewis and Clark were trying to take their territory. Or

C- Lewis and Clark stole a Spanish explorer’s horse. If you said B, you’re right.

Lewis: Remember when I told you one of President Jefferson’s goals with this expedition was to establish America’s claim to these lands out here?

Clarky: Well, The Spanish weren’t too excited about that. You see, they control a lot of the American Southwest, which happens to have a lot of gold. The last thing they want is American explorers and map makers snooping around.

Lewis: The Spanish were tipped off about our expedition by a US Army general who worked for them as a spy. The Spanish sent about 50 soldiers and a bunch of Comanche’s to Nebraska to intercept us and throw us in prison.

Clarky: Luckily, we got there ahead of schedule and managed to stay just out of their reach.

Lewis: That was a little too close for comfort. Clarky.

Clarky: I’ll say Lewis, speaking of comfort, trusty narrator, please feel free to bed down here for the night. We got plenty of beaver pelts to keep you warm and some leftover dayer, if you’re hungry,

Narrator: Tempting. But I think I’ll use my teleporter to meet you at the Pacific Ocean. See you soon, fellows. There it is, the mighty Pacific. So I made it, but where are Lewis and Clark? Maybe I’ll teleport back in time a bit to try and find them. There they are. Oh boy. That doesn’t look or sound good.

Lewis: Trusty, Help.

Narrator: The expedition is in trouble. What could it be? Smarty pence, we’ll find out right after this quick break.



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Now, back to Who Smarted?

Narrator: It looks like Lewis and Clark are being stalked by a grizzly bin.

Lewis: Oh, is that what this beast is called? We’ve never seen one before.

Narrator: You’ve never seen a bear?

Clarky: We’ve seen bears before, but never one this big

Lewis: Or this ferocious. You tell him semen.

Narrator: Smarty Pants. How big can a grizzly bear get? Six feet tall, seven feet tall, or eight feet tall

Clarky: I’m going with eight feet tall.

Narrator: Yes, that looks about right. And they can weigh as much as 900 pounds. I suggest we run.

Lewis: We got away.  And look, it’s the Pacific Ocean. We made it and we only lost one man on the journey

Narrator: From the bear attack.

Speaker3:No. Sergeant Charles Floyd died from a burst appendix back in Iowa.

Narrator: Wow. I feel bad for him, but that’s pretty remarkable considering everything you went through to get here.

Clarky: I’ll say we ran into more than 50 Native American tribes, a few of whom weren’t too happy to see us just before we hit the Rocky Mountains. We almost got into it with some Shoshones. But guess what happened

Lewis: At the last minute? One of the Native American women recognized Sacagawea, turns out the leader of those Shoshones is her brother who hadn’t seen her for five years.

Clarky: And then there was the hunting incident.

Lewis: Do we really got to go there? Clarky

Narrator: Hunting incident. What do you think happened? Smarty Pants, did Lewis fall in a lake while hunting ducks? Did Lewis get lost in the woods while hunting rabbits?

Lewis: Where am I? Clarky help

Narrator: Or did Lewis get shot in the buttocks while hunting elk? The answer is

Lewis: Okay. Okay. I got shot in the butt, but I can explain. I was hunting elk with another member of our expedition, Pierre, who only has one eye. So his vision is a little off. We split up and suddenly, I felt something hit me in the behind.

Clarky: Lewis had to spend the entire three week canoe ride down the Missouri River lying on his tummy with his butt sticking in the air. Hilarious.

Lewis: Well, the good news is President Jefferson’s going to be very happy. What’s next for you too and your expedition?

Narrator: We build a fort Chill here for the winter and then head back

Lewis: This time no hunting with Pierre. No offense

Narrator: Not to ruin the surprise, but I happen to know. They’re going to throw Clark a huge party when he gets back to St. Louis and Congress is going to double both your pay and give you each 1600 acres of land. Also, President Jefferson is going to make Lewis the governor of the upper Louisiana Territory and Clark, your maps will become the go-to for American Adventurers for the next 40 years.

Clarky: Wait a minute. How do you know this?

Lewis: He’s been doing this since I met him. But also we’re going to be famous.

Narrator: And not just you. Sacagawea will one day appear on the front of the US dollar coin?

Lewis: Pretty Cool, Clarky.

Clarky: I’ll say Louis.

Narrator: Looks like getting shot in the butt was worth it in the end. Get it in the end.

Lewis: are all jokes this bad in the future?

Narrator: Speaking of, I better get back. Say hi to the grizzly bear for me on your way back.

Lewis: Bye.


A super smarty shout out to Archie in Florida, according to Archie, Who Smarted? is the best thing to do when you’re bored, and the trustee narrator is indeed trusty. Thanks Archie. I trust you weren’t bored by this shout out. Thanks for listening.

This episode, Lewis and Clark was written by Steve Melcher and voiced by Adam Tex Davis, is Max kamaxki and Jerry Colbert.

Technical direction and sound design by Josh Hahn.

Who Smarted? Is recorded and mixed at the Relicroom Studios.

Our associate producer is Maxkamaxki.

The theme song is by Brian Suarez, with lyrics written and performed by Adam Tex Davis.

Who Smarted? was created and produced by Adam Tex Davis and Jerry Colbert. This has been an atomic entertainment production.