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Westward Expansion

  • Wild West Magazine

    Abraham Lincoln Looks West

    Abraham Lincoln stood atop a hill outside Council Bluffs, Iowa, looking west. The broad Missouri River valley stretched from north to south before him. It was 1859, and this was the place, an acquaintance assured him, from which a...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Town: Ironton, Colorado

    In August 1882, prospector John Robinson was hunting game on Red Mountain, Colo., to feed his partners when he found a large chunk of lead and silver ore. The partners’ subsequent Yankee Girl, Orphan Boy and Robinson claims, coupled with...

  • Wild West Magazine

    The Ringo Family of Missouri Traveled a Hard-Luck Trail

    Young John witnessed life-altering tragedies on the way to California. The trails to California were fraught with danger, but pioneers like the Missouri family of John Ringo were willing to face it in search of a better life. John, who was...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Wild West Book Review: Crooked River Country

    Crooked River Country: Wranglers, Rogues and Barons by David Braly, Washington State University Press, Pullman, 2007, $24.95. Central Oregon is often overlooked in considerations of the thrilling days of yesteryear. But that region saw...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Town: Tinton, South Dakota

    Tinton is tucked in the rugged recesses of Spearfish Canyon, 13 miles due east of Deadwood. Its crumbling edifices belie a remarkably resilient mining town. Edgar St. John discovered ore there during the mid-1870s Black Hills Gold Rush....

  • Wild West Magazine

    Here Be Dragons

    John Wesley Powell’s Colorado River Exploring Expedition completed its rapids-defying Grand Canyon passage 140 years ago, but the disappearance of three members remains a mystery. The explorers were in rough shape on August 27, 1869,...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Westering Walker

    Fur trader and explorer Joe Walker kept up his family’s wandering tradition and contributed mightily to U.S. expansion to the ‘far coast’. At the fur trade rendezvous of 1833 at Horse Creek, on the Green River in what is now Wyoming,...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Wild West Book Review: Dodge City

    Dodge City: The Early Years, 1872–1886 by Wm. B. Shillingberg, The Arthur H. Clark Company, Norman, Okla., 2009, $49.95. “The buildings were mostly box affairs and built in the quickest possible way,” buffalo hunter Billy Dixon...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Soldier Justice at Fort Walla Walla

    In April 1891 members of the 4th U.S. Cavalry formed a well-disciplined vigilante force to avenge the killing of a fellow trooper. Rancor swelled among members of Troop D, 4th U.S. Cavalry, at Fort Walla Walla, Washington, as one of their...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Dutch Bill Greiffenstein Helped Found Wichita

    Once a trusted trader, he turned to building a town. Dutch Bill Greiffenstein lost his young Cheyenne wife before the November 1868 Battle of the Washita and a young fortune afterward when Lieutenant Colonel George Custer killed some of...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Nationalist Mirabeau Lamar Supported Texas Expansion

    The republic’s second president was no Houston man. “Texas to the Pacific!” was the rallying cry in 1838 when nationalist Mirabeau Lamar succeeded Sam Houston as president of the young republic. Houston men wanted to annex Texas to...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Unsung Charcoal Burners Kept Mining Town Smelters Going

    They fueled the Western mining industry. In the late 19th century, Eureka, Nevada, a mining town with over a dozen smelters, was known as the “Pittsburgh of the West.” Labor disputes in such towns often turned violent, and an August...

  • Wild West Magazine

    The Infernal but Necessary Fort Gibson

    Some government officials considered it the most important post on the Western frontier. Still others cried for its relocation. Meanwhile, liquor, fever and poor living conditions were causing scores of desertions and deaths. Two Army...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Wild West Review: So Rugged and Mountainous

    So Rugged and Mountainous: Blazing the Trails to Oregon and California 1812–1848 by Will Bagley, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2010, $45.  “A tide of immigration appears to be moving this way rapidly,” Narcissa Whitman...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Wild West Book Review: Lincoln Looks West

    Lincoln Looks West: From the Mississippi to the Pacific edited by Richard W. Etulain, Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, 2010, $34.95.  In his April 2009 Wild West cover story “Abraham Lincoln Looks West,” Richard W....

  • American History Magazine

    This Land Was Their Land

    Homesteaders grabbed free acres and used the earth itself to build the American dream. They crossed the great grasslands of the United States, powered by the American dream: land, a home. When Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act in...