Journal of a Trapper is one of the most important first hand accounts of the mountain man era. In it, Russell provides a detailed narrative describing the day-to-day life of an ordinary trapper in the Rocky Mountains. The Journal begins when Russell hired on with Nathaniel Wyeth's second expedition to the west. He participated in the establishment of Fort Hall, and later became a free trapper. He trapped for nine years in the greater Yellowstone region before leaving the mountains to settle in Oregon.
Osborne Russell (1814 – August 2, 1892) was a mountain man and politician who helped form the government of the U.S. state of Oregon. He was born in Maine.
Russell first came to the Oregon Country in 1834 as a member of Nathaniel J. Wyeth's second expedition. He returned to the country in 1842 with the Elijah White party. He participated in the May 2, 1843 Champoeg Meeting, voting in favor of forming a government. In October of that year he was selected by the First Executive Committee to serve as the supreme judge for the Provisional Government of Oregon and served until May 14, 1844. In 1844, he was elected to the second Executive Committee of the Provisional Government of Oregon. He was allied with the group that planned to create an independent Republic of the Pacific and thus was unsuccessful in his run for governor of the Provisional Government in 1845, losing to George Abernethy. Russell eventually went to California.
Although not published until well after the establishment of Yellowstone National Park, Osborne's Journal of a Trapper contains an early description of the Lamar Valley or Osborne's Secluded Valley in Yellowstone.