wagon train

noun U.S. History.
a train of wagons and horses, as one carrying military supplies or transporting settlers in the westward migration.

Origin:
1800–10

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
wagon train
 
n
a supply train of horses and wagons, esp one going over rough terrain

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

wagon train

caravan of wagons organized by settlers in the United States for emigration to the West during the late 18th and most of the 19th centuries. Composed of up to 100 Conestoga wagons (q.v.; sometimes called prairie schooners), wagon trains soon became the prevailing mode of long-distance overland transportation for both people and goods. Wagon-train transportation moved westward with the advancing frontier. The 19th century saw the development of such famous roads as the Santa Fe Trail, the Oregon Trail, the Smoky Hill Trail, and the Southern Overland Mail route. It was, however, in transit westward over the Oregon-California Trail that the wagon trains attained their most highly organized and institutionalized character. Meeting in early spring at a rendezvous town, perhaps near the Missouri River, the groups would form companies, elect officers, employ guides, and collect essential supplies while awaiting favourable weather, usually in May. Those riding in the wagons were directed and protected by a few on horseback. Once organized and on their way, wagon-train companies tended to follow a fairly fixed daily routine, from 4 AM rising, to 7 AM leaving, 4 PM encampment, cooking and tending to chores while the animals grazed, and simple recreation before early retirement. The companies had to be prepared for such challenges as crossing rivers and mountains and meeting hostile Indians

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Space was valuable on the wagon train and, if available, for the old and infirm
  only.
Moving in the enemy's country he travelled with a wagon train to carry his
  provisions and munitions of war.
In the rear-view mirror, a superimposed silhouette of a horse-drawn buggy, as
  in a wagon train.
The wagon train experience teaches juveniles the value of cooperation,
  self-discipline, and the work ethic.
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