Kit Carson (1809-1868) has long held a prominent place in the popular imagination of the American West. However, little is known about his family life thanks largely to Carson's own guardianship of his privacy. After almost four decades devoted to researching Kit Carson's personal life, Marc Simmons provides information here to further our understanding of Carson. Viewing Kit Carson's career as a husband and father sheds new light on the life choices he made. The changing economy of the 1840s made it increasingly difficult for a trapper and scout to support a growing family. Carson's years as an Indian agent in the 1850s provided him stability although he was never able to spend as much time with his family as any of them would have liked and he was never able to bring in a comfortable income. The Kit Carson Simmons portrays offers a welcome change from recent politicised interpretations of Carson's actions.
Marc Simmons is considered New Mexico's Historian Laureate and has published over forty books on New Mexico history. Simmons is a former Woodrow Wilson Fellow, a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and in 1993 the King of Spain granted him membership in the knightly Order of Isabela la Catolica for his contributions to Spanish colonial history. He resides in Cerrillos, New Mexico.