Bill Sublette (1799-1845) led two lives. Renowned as a hardy mountain man, he ranged the Missouri, Big Horn, Yellowstone, and Sweetwater River ... Show synopsis Bill Sublette (1799-1845) led two lives. Renowned as a hardy mountain man, he ranged the Missouri, Big Horn, Yellowstone, and Sweetwater River country between 1823 and 1833 hunting beaver, fighting Indians, and unwittingly opening the West for settlers (he proved that wagons could be used effectively on the Oregon Trail). Financial success and silk hats, which strangled the fur trade, later forced him to a less adventuresome life in St. Louis as a gentleman farmer, businessman, and politician. Not only did Sublette help develop the rendezvous system in the fur trade and blaze the first wagon trail through South pass, but also he established what was later Fort Laramie, was a participant in laying the foundation for present Kansas City, and left a large fortune to excite envy and exaggeration, One of the most successful fur merchants of the West, he also helped to break John Jacob Astor's monopoly of the trade.