Imagine walking 50 miles across a hostile prairie just to make sure the mail goes through. That was among the regular duties for infantry soldiers at Fort Larned in the 1860’s. The fort was among those constructed to protect commerce on the Santa Fe Trail. The trail was one of the most important trade routes in the United States, but hostilities with American Indians in the region made for dangerous travel in southwestern Kansas. Soldiers provided armed escort for mail stages and wagon trains. They participated in several small scale conflicts with tribes in the area, and when the Indian wars were ended, the fort served as a point of distribution for goods and supplies promised in the peace treaties.