The "settling" of the American West has been perceived throughout the world as a series of quaint, violent, and romantic adventures. But in fact, Patricia Nelson Limerick argues, the West has a history grounded primarily in economic reality; in hardheaded questions of profit, loss, competition, and consolidation. Here she interprets the stories and the characters in a new way: the trappers, traders, Indians, farmers, oilmen, cowboys, and sheriffs of the Old West "meant business" in more ways than one, and their descendents mean business today.
Renowned storyteller Dee Brown, author of the bestselling Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, recreates the struggles of Native Americans, settlers, and ranchers in this stunning volume that illuminates the history of the old West that's filled with maps and vintage photographs.Beginning with the demise of the Native Americans of the Plains, Brown depicts the onrush of the burgeoning cattle trade and the waves of immigrants who ultimately "settled" the land. In the retelling of this oft-told saga, Brown has demonstrated once again his abilities as a master storyteller and an entertaining popular historian. By turns heroic, tragic, and even humorous, The American West brings to life American tragedy and triumph in the years from 1840 to the turn of the century, and a roster of characters both great and small: Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, Geronimo, Dull Knife, Crazy Horse, Captain Jack, John H. Tunstall, Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, Wyatt Earp, the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang, Wild Bill Hickok, Charles Goodnight, Oliver Loving, Buffalo Bill, and many others. The American West is about cattle and the railroads; it is about settlers who came to claim a land not originally their own and how they slowly imposed law and order on these wild and untamed places; and it is about the wanton destruction of the Native American way of life. This is epic history at its best and popular history at its most readable. This new work is culled from Dee Brown's highly acclaimed writings, which instantly established him as one of America's foremost Western authorities. Fully revised, rewritten, and edited into one seamless account of America's most famous frontier, this epic narrative, along with the introduction and a chronological table of events, etches an unforgettable and poignant portrait. The American West is at once a tribute to the West and a majestic new peak for a writer whose long and successful career has been synonymous with excellence in frontier history.
American lore has slighted the cowgirl, although at least one can still be found in nearly every ranching community. Like her male counterpart, she rides and ropes, understands land and stock, and confronts the elements. The writer and photographer Teresa Jordan traveled sixty thousand miles in the American West, talking with more than a hundred authentic cowgirls running ranches and performing in rodeos. The result is a fascinating book that also situates the cowgirl in history and literature. A new preface and updated bibliography have been added to this Bison Book edition.
The modern woman who tries to juggle private and public roles with equilibrium will discover a spiritual ancestor in Alice Kirk Grierson. The colonel's lady spent most of her life at army outposts on the nineteenth-century western frontier, where she faced the problems of raising a large family while fulfilling the duties of a commanding officer's wife. Fortunately for history, she left a large and extraordinarily candid correspondence, which has now been edited by Shirley Anne Leckie. Alice was the wife of Benjamin B. Grierson, a major general in the Civil War who won fame for a raid that contributed to the fall of Vicksburg. Her letters begin in 1866, when her husband reentered the army as colonel of the legendary "buffalo soldiers" of the Tenth Cavalry, and end with her death in 1888. During these years she chronicles the criticism experienced by her husband in commanding one of the army's two black mounted regiments and the frustration when he is repeatedly passed over for promotion, in part because he advocated a more humane Indian policy. All the while her position requires her to assume heavy responsibilities as a hostess. Her letters are just as unflinching in describing the daily hard-ships of raising a family at frontier posts like Forts Riley, Gibson, Sill, Concho, Davis, and Grant, where two of her seven children died young and two suffered from manic-depressive psychosis. They are extraordinary for their insight into nineteenth-century attitudes toward birth control, childbearing, marital roles, race relations, and mental illness. In her introduction Shirley Anne Leckie adds to the portrait of a forthright woman who stood up to unremitting demands without sacrificing her own identity. An associate professor of history at the University of Central Florida, she is coauthor, with William H. Leckie, of Unlikely Warriors: General Benjamin H. Grierson and His Family (1984)
Albert Jerome Dickson was fourteen years old in 1864 when he left LaCrosse, Wisconsin, in a small caravan of covered wagons headed for Montana Territory. Thousands of emigrants had preceded him on the Oregon Trail, but none ever described the journey in sharper detail. "Covered Wagon Days" recreates the daily progress of Dickson's party, which included his guardians, Joshua and Rebecca Ridgley. The logistics of such a trip, the sights along a trail marked by ruts and fresh graves, the rigors of camping, the encounters with Indians and returning pilgrims and vigilantes running after road agents--all figure in Dickson's memoir. The payoff for the Ridgleys is not the gold being discovered in the mountains near Virginia City but a fine farm in Gallatin Valley. As vivid as any novel about the Oregon Trail and pioneering in the Northwest, "Covered Wagon Days," first published in 1929, is based on journals and materials that were edited by the author's son, Arthur Jerome Dickson.
Mary Dodge Woodward, a fifty-six-year-old widow, moved from Wisconsin with her two grown sons and a daughter to a 1,500-acre bonanza wheat farm in Dakota Territory's Red River valley in 1882. For five years she recorded the yearly farm cycle of plowing and harvesting as well as the frustrations of gardening and raising chickens, the phenomenon of mirages on the plains, the awesome blizzard of 1888, her reliance on her family, and her close relationship with her daughter. She noted "blots, mistakes, joys, and sorrows" in her "olf friend." This Borealis edition brings back to print a valuable record of a frontier woman's life.
"Mary Dodge Woodward's personal record of her life on a Dakota Territory 'bonanza farm' adds new detail and texture to the histories of both women and the West. . . . She] wrote about what she saw: The epic procession of reapers and threshing crews, the wildflowers and birds, the stupendous mirages that could make the wintry prairie an optical wonderland." --Elizabeth Jameson, from the Introduction
From Davy Crockett, Wild Bill Hickok, and Calamity Jane to Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, and Frank and Jesse James, here are more than 130 colorful stories of the pioneers, cowboys, outlaws, gamblers, prospectors, and lawmen who settled the wild west, creating a uniquely American hero and an enduringly fascinating folk mythology.In this wonderfully boisterous treasury of tall tales, everyone and everything is larger than life and bragging is elevated into an art form. Many of these stories are of real people and real events; more than a few, however, grew taller and funnier as they made their rounds from wagon train to campfire to rodeo to miners' quarters. But even if it is far from established that Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett were able to kill three men with one bullet or subdue ferocious grizzly bears with their fists, they come vividly to life here as beloved characters who have become part of the fabric of the American imagination. With black-and white illustrations throughout
Part of the Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library
Three Roads to the Alamo is the definitive book about the lives of David Crockett, James Bowie and William Barret Travis--the legendary frontiersmen and fighters who met their destiny at the Alamo in one of the most famous and tragic battles in American history--and about what really happened in that battle.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Wallace Stegner tells about a thousand-mile migration marked by hardship and sudden death-but unique in American history for its purpose, discipline, and solidarity. Other Bison Books by Wallace Stegner include Mormon Country, Recapitulation, Second Growth, and Women on the Wall.