Oregon Trail(Apple) FAQ/walkthrough version 1.0.0
by Andrew Schultz schultza@earthlink.net

This FAQ/Walkthrough is copyright 2000 Andrew Schultz.  Please do not 
reproduce for profit without my consent.  However, a polite request to 
post this FAQ on a website, asking me by name, will more than likely be 
honored.

------------------------------------------

Outline:

STARTING OFF

HOW YOU SCORE POINTS

ON THE ROAD--THE BASICS

  TRAVELING

  HUNTING

  RANDOM EVENTS

WHAT'S FASTER, WHAT'S QUICKER, WHAT'S SAFER

OLD MAN RIVER

INFLATION AND SUCH

HOW TO GET STUCK/KILLED

MY PREFERRED STRATEGY

TIPS, TRICKS AND QUIRKS

THE VERY MAXIMUM

------------------------------------------

STARTING OFF

    Follow Matt's recommendations, but don't get too much more.  The one 
exception I would make is food;  you're going to have to learn to hunt, 
so why not force yourself to do so right away?  If you are a beginner it 
is up to you to start as a banker, carpenter or farmer.  However, when 
you get better you will surely want to take on the challenge of being a 
farmer.

HOW YOU SCORE POINTS

    You must get to the Willammette valley in order to score any points.  
Once you do, you receive a multiplier based on your profession:  three 
for farmers, two for carpenters, one for bankers.  You get the majority 
of your points based on your party's health at the time you arrive in 
Oregon.  The other items are listed below.  A general rule of thumb is 
that you get one point for every $5 that the material would cost you at 
Matt's General Store, except in the case of the wagon.

500 points * number of survivors--if you are in good health
400 points * number of survivors--if you are in fair health
300 points * number of survivors--if you are in poor health
200 points * number of survivors--if you are in very poor health

50 points for the wagon
4 points for each ox
2 points for each spare wagon part
2 points for each pair of clothes
1 point for each multiple of 50 bullets
1 point for each 25-pound ration of food
1 point for each $5 you possess in cash

ON THE ROAD--THE BASICS

  TRAVELING

    Rationing works as follows:  filling uses up three pounds of food 
per person per day, meager two, bare bones one.  The pace, grueling, 
strenuous, or steady, goes at a rate of 100%, 75%, or 50% of the 
maximum.  This maximum is adjusted by the number of oxen that you have 
and where you are.  On disk "A" (before Fort Laramie) you can go up to 
forty miles a day.  Afterwards, on disk B, the maximum is 24.

    There are places where the road splits off as well.  Usually the 
longer of the two paths is either safer or contains a fort.

  HUNTING

    Consider that a bullet costs 10 cents at Matt's Store.  A pound of 
food costs 20 cents.  Therefore, to get a good return on your 
investment, you'll need to shoot half a pound of meat with each bullet.  
Not too tough.  But remember also that you are eating food for each day 
you are hunting--this has its advantages.  You can rest while hunting, 
but it does take time, too.  Below is a Field Guide to species on the 
Oregon Trail.

Skunk:  gives 1-3 meat.  Long and thing.  Not too quick, but shoot one 
and it will block your range for more valuable animals.
Rabbit:  gives 1-5 meat.  Small and quick.
Deer:  gives 50-80 meat.  Large and pretty quick.
Bear:  gives 100-250 meat.  Large and pretty slow.
Buffalo/bison:  gives 800-1000 meat.  Large and slow.  Amazing how the 
things that give you more meat are easier to shoot.

    Note that you can only take 100 pounds of meat per day, and the 
maximum food you can have in your wagon at any time is 2000 pounds.  
Still, if you are trying for a top score or are very low on food, 
hunting is at least as good as resting.  The background and animals that 
appear while you are hunting seem to be random, and animals will 
invariably pop out just before you are ready to shoot(the best strategy 
is to get to a place where you can shoot in many directions--there is 
some luck in the scenery you will get) or just before the day ends(if 
only you'd had ten more seconds!) but even a clumsy hunter will be able 
to bag 100 pounds at least a third of the time.  As you can't eat more 
than 15 food a day, that is a positive net result.

  RANDOM EVENTS

  --find wild fruit
  --wagon gets stolen
  --wagon part gets broken
  --rain washes out path
  --bad track
  --thunderstorm
  --person develops cholera, exhaustion, broken arm, broken leg, 
measles, typhoid, dysentery

WHAT'S FASTER, WHAT'S QUICKER, WHAT'S SAFER

  Below is a list of paths that you can take.  Your path is arranged 
from top to bottom, and it branches where you have a choice.  There are 
only three real breaks.

              Independence, MO
                    |
               (102 miles)
                    |
              Kansas River Crossing
                    |
               (83 miles)
                    |
              Big Blue River Crossing
                    |
               (119 miles)
                    |
              Fort Kearney
                    |
               (250 miles)
                    |
              Chimney Rock
                    |
               (86 miles)
                    |
              Fort Laramie(Switch to side 2)
                    |
               (190 miles)
                    |
              Independence Rock
                    |
               (102 miles)
                    |
              South Pass
             /          \
        (57 miles)  (125 miles)
            |            |
       Green River  Fort Bridger
            |            |
        (144 miles) (162 miles)
             \          /
             Soda Springs
                    |
               (57 miles)
                    |
             Fort Hall
                    |
               (182 miles)
                    |
             Snake River Crossing
                    |
               (114 miles)
                    |
             Fort Boise
                    |
               (160 miles)
                    |
             Blue Mountains
            /              \
            |              |
       (55 miles)          /
            |        (125 miles)
    Fort Walla Walla     /
            |           /
       (120 miles)     /
             \        /
             The Dalles
            /          \
       (100 miles)     Columbia River
    Barlow Toll Road   (0 miles, action sequence)

OLD MAN RIVER

INFLATION AND SUCH

  The forts along the way aren't as good to you as Matt's General Store.  
The farther you go, the higher the markup.

Place          |Mark|Oxen(2)| Parts/ |Bullets|Food|
               | up |       |Clothes | (100) |1 lb|
---------------+----+-------+--------+-------+----+
Matt's         |  0%|  $20  | $10.00 | $2.00 |$.20|
Ft. Kearney    | 25%|  $25  | $12.50 | $2.50 |$.25|
Ft. Laramie    | 50%|  $30  | $15.00 | $3.00 |$.30|
Ft. Bridger    | 75%|  $35  | $17.50 | $3.50 |$.35|
Ft. Hall       |100%|  $40  | $20.00 | $4.00 |$.40|
Ft. Boise      |125%|  $45  | $22.50 | $4.50 |$.45|
Ft. Walla Walla|150%|  $50  | $25.00 | $5.00 |$.50|
---------------+----+-------+--------+-------+----+

It's a pretty simple arithmetic progression--also note that you will in 
effect lose points at the end if you have to trade at a fort.

HOW TO GET STUCK/KILLED

  Note that none of these signify the end of the game, but they will 
hasten your demise.  Beware of them.

--Your wagon breaks down without the specific spare part
--You wade through a river >3 feet deep
--Your wagon falls in the river
--One of your people is sick, and you do not rest
--Your food runs out
--With bad water/inadequate grass, you push the oxen too fast

MY PREFERRED STRATEGY

  My preferred strategy is as follows.  Be a farmer for the maximum 
multiple at the end, and start in the month of March.  Buy the 
following:  three yoke oxen($120), fifty pounds food($10--just hunt 
right away), fourteen pairs of clothes($140), twenty boxes 
ammunition($40), and two spare wagon parts each, just in case($60--
perhaps one of each will do just as well).  This will leave you with 
$30.  Start at a grueling pace with bare bones rations.  At the Kansas 
River crossing, caulk the wagon.  This really should work.  If you fall 
in, just start over if you want.  Then just before you get to the Big 
Blue River crossing, do a bunch of hunting.  Hunt until March 20 or so 
and then approach the river.  It may be shallow enough to ford, and you 
can wait a few days to do so(<2.5 feet) but caulking the wagon usually 
works pretty well, too.  Continue at a fast pace with little food, 
stopping only if a person or ox is sick.  When you do so, hunt a bit, 
and put yourself at filling rations before so doing.  That will help 
your health.  This should be good enough to get you to South Pass.
  At South Pass you have your first choice.  I prefer to avoid the Green 
River, since rivers and the risk of falling in will be your main problem 
in this game.  An extra 86 miles, or four days(versus one day to cross 
by boat) is not a big deal.  Continue with the quick strategy, stopping 
only for health reasons(if you feel you need to rest, or if there is any 
doubt, rest.)  At the Snake River you will want the Indian to guide you 
across.  It should almost always work, but caulking or even the ferry 
can be hazardous.  The Snake seems to stay at 6 feet deep and 1000 wide, 
but it is the most treacherous river in the game.  Go through to Fort 
Boise and the Blue Mountains.  You probably don't need supplies, so go 
directly to the Dalles and save a day or two en route.  But just before 
you get to The Dalles, rest your party on fulfilling rations, hunt a 
lot, and put the pace at steady.  You'll get your health way up for the 
endgame.  Once at the Dalles, the Columbia River is much safer than the 
Barlow Toll Road, and it doesn't cost any money, either.
  On the Columbia River, you will use the arrows to change the momentum 
of your craft(left = up/left, right = down/right) and avoid rocks.  You 
will also want to avoid the shore until the third arrow appears on the 
lower right.  There will be a pathway trailing off just after it, and if 
you miss it, you will lose supplies from your wagon.  This "video game" 
part is even easier than the hunting and although it is the weakest part 
of the game it should ensure a successful finish.

TIPS, TRICKS AND QUIRKS

THE VERY MAXIMUM

  Due to his triple multiplier, the farmer beats the carpenter and 
banker if you are going for big stakes, hands down.  My main question 
when I played this in junior high was, could you achieve eight thousand 
points?  The answer seems to be yes.  I haven't done it yet as a farmer, 
but the numbers seem to indicate it is possible.

You really only need 2667 points before the multiple, and that is quite 
possible.

Possible maximums(achievable with some luck, and assuming you don't lose 
anything)
5 survivors in good health = 2500 points
1950 food = 78 points (2000 maximum food, but you will use some up if 
you travel just after hunting)
Wagon = 50 points
Oxen = 4 points / ox * 6 points = 24 points
Clothes = 2 points * 10 pairs = 20 points:  buy 14 pairs, give <4 pairs 
on the Snake River
Spare parts = 2 points * 6 = 12 points
Cash = $30 = 6 points

Total = 2690 points.  It's do-able, with a margin of error(if 25 points 
or so doesn't seem like a margin of error you can afford to lose, think 
how hard it is to GAIN it!)

------------------------------------------

Versions
1.0.0 submitted to GameFAQs 11/23/2000

Credits:
ftp.apple.asimov.net as usual for the disk image!

Send comments to schultza@earthlink.net