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The forts of America varied in type from military posts, to fortresses established by fur trading companies, to private enterprises built solely to protect the pioneers within.

Most often when we think of forts, we imagine a high stockade type wall of sharpened logs that surround a number of buildings. Inside these walls are hardy pioneers and soldiers, valiantly defending themselves from hostile Indians on the outside. Though western films have perpetuated this idea, and sometimes forts were built in a stockade type manner, the purpose and style of forts varied widely and this "typical" scenario was the exception rather than the rule.
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