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Letter from Wild West – August 2009

Such intrepid 19th-century explorers as Joe Walker, John Wesley Powell, Benjamin Bonneville, Jedediah Smith and others explored much of the West, yet there remain corners for curious minds to explore.
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Victorio’s War

For Apache chief Victorio, the decision to make war on the United States was a matter of rights and spirituality. Known as the "greatest Indian general" ever, he terrorized settlers and the army, surpassing Geronimo's feats and ferocity.
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The Pony Express: Riders of Destiny

The Pony Express only operated for about 18 months, but the picture-perfect enterprise captured the imagination of a nation and has grown larger than life through the years.
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John Forster and the American Conquest of California

The English-born John Forster helped his brother-in-law, California Governor Pio Pico, escape to Mexico in 1846, but then he assisted the American forces who had come West to take possession of the pastoral paradise by the sundown sea.
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The Republic of the Rio Grande

After Texas gained its independence from Mexico, some Texans and Mexicans were ready to fight for a new buffer nation.
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Oregon Trail: Wagon Tracks West

For the Applegates and their fellow travelers, the Oregon Trail promised a golden ticket to the land of milk and honey. The reality, however, proved to be far grimmer.
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Jim Hill: Railroad Builder and Visionary

Possessing abundant ability and Napoleonic ambition, the Canadian-born entrepreneur Jim Hill believed that his new railway would fill the wasted northern Plains with settlers.