James Felix Bridger (March 17, 1804 – July 17, 1881) was an American mountain man, trapper, Army scout and wilderness guide who explored and trapped the Western United States in the first half of the 19th century.
Bridger is known for participating in numerous early expeditions into the western interior as well as mediating between Native American tribes and westward-migrating European-American settlers, and by the end of his life had earned a reputation as one of the foremost frontiersmen in the American Old West.
He was of English ancestry, and his family had been in North America since the early colonial period.Bridger was described as having a strong constitution that allowed him to survive the extreme conditions he encountered while exploring the Rocky Mountains from what would become southern Colorado to the Canadian border.
He had conversational knowledge of French, Spanish and several native languages.
He was a contemporary of many famous European-American explorers of the early west and would come to know many of them, including Kit Carson, George Armstrong Custer, Hugh Glass, John Frémont, Joseph Meek, John Sutter, Peter Skene Ogden, Jedediah Smith, Robert Campbell, and William Sublette.
In 1830, Smith and his associates sold their fur company to Bridger and his associates, who named it the Rocky Mountain Fur Company.
Bridger was part of the second generation of American mountain men and pathfinders that followed the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804.