The freckle-faced Carson was short, weighing only 145 pounds in his prime, and was both bow-legged and pigeon-toed, the very opposite of his image in dime novels. Although he was not pious like Jed Smith, he was unlike most mountain men in that he was temperate in the use of alcohol and profanity, although he was addicted to tobacco. He was soft-voiced, reticent, and genuinely modest in contrast to such braggarts as Jim Bridger. Handicapped as he was by small stature and illiteracy, Carson was universally respected by Americans, Canadians, Mexicans, and Indians and loved by many of them because of his strong character. He was not a leader in the ordinary sense but an exemplar. His honesty, loyalty, courage, decency, and sense of duty--in short, his personal integrity--so elevated him in public esteem, even during his lifetime, that he became and has remained the equal of Daniel Boone as an American frontiersman, almost sans reproche. The one black mark on his record remains his execution of three civilians, on Frémont's orders, in California in 1846.
Richard H. Dillon, "Carson, Kit," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/20/20-00152.html.