The prehistoric societies of the western Colorado Plateau and the eastern Great Basin can be characterized by variation and diversity; they are neither readily defined nor easily encapsulated within a single description. Some people were primarily settled farmers, growing corn, beans, and squash in small plots along streams at the base of mountain ranges; some were nomads, collecting wild plants and animals to support themselves; still others would shift between these lifestyles. In some areas the population was relatively dense; in other places only small groups were found widely scattered across the landscape. People living in this region may even have spoken different languages or had widely divergent dialects. Yet, despite the diversity of these lifestyles and the varied geography which helped structure their actions, these people seem to have shared patterns of behavior and ways of living that tie them together.
Today we call these scattered groups of hunters and farmers the Fremont, but that name may be more reflective of our own need to categorize things than it is a reflection of how closely related these people were to each other. "Fremont" is really a generic label for a people who, like the land in which they lived, are not easily described or classified. The Fremont culture was first defined in 1931 by Noel Morss, a young Harvard anthropology student working along the Fremont River in south-central Utah.