Windwagon Smith is an American tall tale, perhaps best known from a 1961 animated Walt Disney Pictures film, "The Saga of Windwagon Smith".
The tale is based on a story, with some plausible elements, of an incident in Westport, Missouri in 1853, during the American westward migration. In some versions Windwagon Smith comes sweeping into town with his wind-powered Conestoga wagon complete and working; other tellings have him inventing the wagon in town, building the craft, and gathering eager passengers, only to have his craft crash or his passengers abandon ship from sea-sickness.
By 1850 Westport and nearby Kansas City had displaced Independence, Missouri as the main outfitting and starting point for traders, trappers, and emigrants heading west on the Santa Fe Trail and Oregon Trails. Contemporary news accounts have at least three real-life inventors of wind-powered wagons in that era. The apparent first was a William Thomas, described in December 1846 by the Independence Expositor newspaper. By 1853 Thomas had displayed a prototype with oversized wheels to the U.S. Army at Fort Leavenworth and formed an Overland Navigation Company. Oskaloosa sawmill owner Samuel Peppard invented a sailing wagon in 1860 with at least partial success and a description in the national Leslie's Illustrated Magazine as it arrived in Fort Kearny, Nebraska, 250 miles from his starting point.
- Windwagon Smith, Ennis Rees, 1966
- The Santa Fe Trail in Missouri, by Mary Barile, page 96