Fourteen-year-old Francis Tucket is heading west on the Oregon Trail with his family by wagon train. When he receives a rifle for his birthday, he is thrilled that he is being treated like an adult. But Francis lags behind to practice shooting and is captured by Pawnees. It will take wild horses, hostile tribes, and a mysterious one-armed mountain man named Mr. Grimes to help Francis become the man who will be called Mr. Tucket.
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The Oregon Trail spanned over 2000 miles from Missouri to Oregon. Families made this dangerous trek in search of farmable land and gold. Francis's journey is marked on the map. Flip back a page and check out how far they have to travel.
Did you know that you can still see wagon ruts (imprints from the wheels) along the trail? (This annotation contains an image)
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently. Is there a word on this page you need to look up?
What does Francis mean by licking? Using clues from the text, which of the following best describes what licking means in this statement?
Why do you think Francis's father is worried about Francis liking the gun?
The Oregon Trail cut through different Native American territories that belonged to tribes such as the Pawnee and the Comanche. For the most part, the Native Americans offered guidance and traded with the travelers.
Notice how Francis's temper fuels his motivation to fight. What lesson do you think Francis will learn through this struggle? Keep track of how Francis adapts to his new home.
What is the difference between Francis's actions and the Indian's view of bravery?
Notice the change in Francis's tone and how he reacts to the Black Hills. Do you think Francis will learn to enjoy his new life? (This annotation contains an image)
Explain why the mountain man might signal for Francis to be quiet. How does this relate to the way the mountain man arrived at the camp? Use text evidence to support your response.
Do you think Francis even realized he was lying about knowing how to ride? What motivates Francis to say yes?
Have you noticed how Francis stops to reflect and appreciate his surroundings? The author is writing Francis's story using third person point of view. Instead of the story being told directly through Francis's eyes, it is being shared by a narrator. Watch the video below to learn more about point of view. (This annotation contains a video)
What does Mr. Grimes want to keep the air clean of?
Francis compares the jerky to an old boot to illustrate how hard it was to chew it. This is also an example of simile, which is a comparison that uses like or as. (This annotation contains an image)
What can you infer about how Mr. Grimes will affect the plot? Keep track of how he influences Francis and the lessons Mr. Grimes has to offer. (This annotation contains a video)
Francis is quick to defend his actions after every comment Mr. Grimes makes. What can you conclude about the additional lesson Francis will learn through this interaction? Use examples from the text to support your response.
Francis seems to be forgetting how Mr. Grimes was able to win back the rifle. Francis assumes he can beat Mr. Grimes, and doesn't stop to consider that Mr. Grimes is a skilled, one-armed shooter.
Chapter 1-7 Quiz
"Looking gift horses in their mouths" is an idiom, which is a phrase or expression that has a figurative meaning. Watch the clip below to find out what Mr. Grimes is saying to Francis. (This annotation contains a video)
The author's choice to use the word "clawing" conveys Mr. Grimes' __________ with Francis's rebuttal.
What have you noticed about how Mr. Grimes talks to Francis? Did Francis ask to be dropped at the Sioux village or is Mr. Grimes teaching Francis a new lesson?
What purpose does Mr. Grimes have in exaggerating Francis's interaction with Braid?
A few chapters ago, Francis' desperate determination was worrisome. In this scene Francis's persistence might actually help him win.
Explain how Francis demonstrates growth and maturity in helping the boy up. Use text evidence to support your response.
Consider the simile "She walked toward the gate as meekly as a kitten."Which of the following similes has the OPPOSITE the meaning?
Wow! Can you believe Francis isn't angry? Francis is really adapting to his new life and learning how to not react so hotly when things get tough.
Jim Bridger was a famous mountain man who explored the West and became famous for his travels and discoveries. (This annotation contains an image)
Why do you think Mr. Grimes' comment made Francis blush? Explain your answer using evidence from the text.
What does Francis not realizing about what Mr. Grimes is doing?
This is a huge moment for Francis for two reasons. First, he doesn't react angrily to Mr. Grimes's trick. Secondly, Francis realizes how much Mr. Grimes cares for him.
Explain what this statement reveals about Francis. Why does seeing the Indian woman wash away Francis's homesickness? Use evidence from the text to support your response.
Stop and think about Francis's first reaction to seeing Bird Dance and realizing she is Johnnie's wife. Now take a look at how Francis reacts to Bird Dance introducing herself. What can you infer about why Francis suddenly decides he likes her?
Why is the idea of Braid raiding the wagon trains so troublesome to Mr. Grimes and Spot?
Mr. Grimes is very precise with his words, yet his comments don't always lead to a straightforward truth. What advantage does Mr. Grimes have in speaking this way? Why do you thinking Francis is having a hard time understanding how the men placed their bets?
Francis has learned to be a mountain man from Mr. Grimes's lessons, but he has also been molded by his surroundings. Can you find an example of how the setting has influenced and changed Francis? (This annotation contains a video)
Francis' decision NOT to look back at the wagons illustrates what theme?
Although Mr. Grimes doesn't say it, you can infer that he doesn't consider many people to be good trappers. How do you know this? The author uses italics to emphasize a certain word, so that the reader processes its meaning differently.
In what way is Mr. Grimes different from the other fur trappers in the area?
What does this reveal about Francis? Notice how he is making the connection between Rebecca and his time with Mr. Grimes.
Chapter 8-14 Quiz
Which of the following prompts Francis to assume that this man is lying?
Mr. Bridger isn't actually feeding Francis a nettle. Why do you think Mr. Grimes is comparing the comment to a stinging, prickly plant? (This annotation contains an image)
The hoops helped stretch the beaver hide and also dry it out. Mr. Grimes and Francis will be able to sell the hides once they are dry. (This annotation contains an image)
Explain how the author uses this scene to develop Francis's point of view. What does this scene reveal about Francis? Use text evidence to support your response.
Francis has adapted to life as a mountain man, but he is still just a kid. Keep track of how Francis reacts to working such long hours and how he is influenced by the experience.
What is unexpected about Francis's reaction to getting more rest?
Can you imagine how exhausted Francis is and instead of resting he has to deal with an attack? Let's see how Francis handles himself.
What can you conclude about Francis based on his reply to Mr. Grimes?
Explain the impact of this statement and how it shows how Francis is maturing. Use examples from the text to support your response.
Did you know that you can figure out the meaning of new words using context clues? If you look at what Mr. Grimes is doing and why, what can you guess the meaning of "fiend" might be? (This annotation contains a video)
Why is Francis smiling about the snowstorm?
Mr. Grimes is telling Francis to tie a rope around the horse's ankles to keep the horse from walking. Keep reading to see why Mr. Grimes is doing this. (This annotation contains an image)
Notice how Francis's observation of Mr. Grimes's voice makes you feel worried about what they are going to find.
What is the author conveying through Francis's observation of Mr. Grimes?
What is the lesson in Francis' plea for Mr. Grimes not to pursue Braid?
Even though Mr. Grimes chose to leave Francis behind, Francis is loyal to the mountain man. Francis is pushing through his own fear to help Mr. Grimes.
Chapter 15-22 Quiz