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Wild West

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Wild West Collection

History Archive - Wild West Collection

The Wild West or the American Frontier was one of the most iconic and culturally significant periods of American history. From the deserts to the mountains to the plains, the lawless nature of the region along with the archetypal cowboys, Indians and outlaws has spawned countless movies, videogames and books and despite its brevity is still celebrated today.

This brief period in history occurred after the end of the Civil War in 1865 until around 1895 when the fledgling United States rapidly developed across the entire continent. According to one John L. O'Sullivan the goal was to;

"overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions".

While there was some settlement out West prior to the Civil War with groups such as gold miners, the Mormons and others, American governmental jurisdiction did not really extend there and most of these places were not even states yet. These vast unexplored territories included Colorado, Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and California.

The lawless nature of the region provided a prime attraction for criminals fleeing the authorities in the United States to the East and as the crimes mounted the government was forced to respond by sending law enforcement to the region forming police organizations that exist to this day including the United States Marshalls. However, the American West was also home to many other law-abiding immigrant nationalities including Germans, Irish, Italians, Swedes, Norwegians, Finns, Chinese, Russians, and Slovakians who were seeking new opportunities in the vast untamed lands.

All of this made for prime movie and print material which started to be produced right after the period had ended in the early 20th century. The actor Bronco Billy Anderson is usually credited as the first cowboy icon. His 1903 silent black-and-white film The Great Train Robbery set the pattern for Western movies to come. Later icons would include people like John Wayne and more.

References:

United States Magazine and Democratic Review (July-August 1845)

Regional Sub-Divisions

Available Books

Related Images

Image Name
Pencil Sketches of Montana - Front Cover (1868)
Mountains and Molehills - A Fireman's Funeral (1855)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Fig. 39 (1926)
Drawings by Frederic Remington - A Citadel of the Plains (1897)
Mountains and Molehills - Horse Market Sonora (1855)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 245 (1926)
Pencil Sketches of Montana - (1868)
Sketches in North America and the Oregon Territory - Valley of the Willamette River (1848)
Pencil Sketches of Colorado - South Park (1866)
Sketches in North America and the Oregon Territory - Fall of the Peloos River (1848)
Tertiary History of the Grand Canon [Atlas] - Looking up the Toroweap from Vulcan's Throne II (1882)
Gems of Rocky Mountain Scenery - (1869)
Report of the Exploring Expedition from Santa Fe - The Needles, Looking South-Westerly (1876)
Voyage Pittoresque dans les Grands Deserts du Nouveau Monde - Ancienne Poterie (1862)
Voyage Pittoresque dans les Grands Deserts du Nouveau Monde - Canots et Bergeaux (1862)
Three Wonderlands of the American West - Cliffs of Green River, Utah (1912)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 180 (1926)
Heroes of the Plains - Buffalo Bill Wins the Championship (1881)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 252 (1926)
Drawings by Frederic Remington - Taking the Robe (1897)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Fig. 109 (1926)
Heroes of the Plains - Ambushing the Indians (1881)
Drawings by Frederic Remington - His Death Song (1897)
Journey from the Mississippi Vol. 1 - Indian's Drawings III (1858)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Fig. 91 (1926)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 271 (1926)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 265 (1926)
Journey from the Mississippi Vol. 2 - Title Page (1858)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 118 (1926)
Gems of Rocky Mountain Scenery - (1869)
Pencil Sketches of Colorado - The Ore Pit, or Drying Room (1866)
Catlin's Indian Portfolio - Wounded Buffalo Bull (1844)
The Black Hills - Indian Graves, Belle Fourche (1876)
Journey from the Mississippi Vol. 1 - <i>Cereus giganteus</i> (1858)
The Wonders of Geyserland - The Great Falls of the Yellowstone (From Below) (1913)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 120 (1926)
The Black Hills - The Fingers, Harney's Range Looking North-East (1876)
Pencil Sketches of Montana - (1868)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Fig. 71 (1926)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Back Cover (1926)
Journey from the Mississippi Vol. 1 - Fragments of Pottery from the Ruins on Inscription Rock (1858)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Fig. 84 (1926)
Drawings by Frederic Remington - A Greaser (1897)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 115 (1926)
The Wonders of Geyserland - Back Cover (1913)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Fig. 55 (1926)
Voyage Pittoresque dans les Grands Deserts du Nouveau Monde - Satsikaa (1862)
The Great Southwest - The Snowy Range near Trinidad, Colorado (1919)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Fig. 107 (1926)
Pencil Sketches of Colorado - Central City; From the Side of Mammoth Hill Looking Up Gregory and Eureka Gulches (1866)
Tertiary History of the Grand Canon [Atlas] - The Grand Canon, foot of the Toroweap looking East (1882)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Fig. 95 (1926)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 304 (1926)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Book Display [II] (1926)
Report of the Exploring Expedition from Santa Fe - Carboniferous and Cretaceous Fossils (I) (1876)
Voyage Pittoresque dans les Grands Deserts du Nouveau Monde - Book Display III (1862)
The Great Southwest - In Apache Land, Arizona (1919)
Voyage Pittoresque dans les Grands Deserts du Nouveau Monde - Pipes Antiques (1862)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 283 (1926)
Journey from the Mississippi Vol. 1 - Earthern Household, Utensils of the Pueblo Indians (1858)
Illustrated Notes of an Expedition through Mexico and California - Front Cover (1852)
Gems of Rocky Mountain Scenery - (1869)
Pencil Sketches of Colorado - Reverberatory Furnace (1866)
Drawings by Frederic Remington - The Sheep Herder's Breakfast (1897)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 144 (1926)
Utah, the Land of Blossoming Valleys - Joseph Smith Jr., the Found of Mormonism (1922)
Journey from the Mississippi Vol. 1 - Mohave Valley of the Rio Colorado of the West (1858)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 153 (1926)
Heroes of the Plains - Buffalo Bill in Close Quarters (1881)
Journey from the Mississippi Vol. 1 - Title Page (1858)
Sketches in North America and the Oregon Territory - Forcing a Passage Through the Burning Prairie (1848)
Report of the Exploring Expedition from Santa Fe - The Pagosa, S.W. Colorado, San Juan Exped (1876)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 134 (1926)
Drawings by Frederic Remington - Over the Foot-Hills (1897)
Tertiary History of the Grand Canon [Atlas] - Views looking east and south from Mt. Trumbull II (1882)
Journey from the Mississippi Vol. 1 - The Petrified Forest in the Valley of the Rio Seco (1858)
The Great Southwest - Title Page (1919)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Fig. 41 (1926)
The Black Hills - Coldspring Canon (1876)
Voyage Pittoresque dans les Grands Deserts du Nouveau Monde - Montagne Pyramide (1862)
Heroes of the Plains - Wild Bill and the Cinnamon Bear (1881)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 269 (1926)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 305 (1926)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Fig. 7 (1926)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 132 (1926)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 214 (1926)
Voyage Pittoresque dans les Grands Deserts du Nouveau Monde - Cylindres Naturels (1862)
Voyage Pittoresque dans les Grands Deserts du Nouveau Monde - Pueblo Indien (1862)
Drawings by Frederic Remington - U.S. Cavalry Officer on Campaign (1897)
Illustrated Notes of an Expedition through Mexico and California - Back Cover (1852)
Voyage Pittoresque dans les Grands Deserts du Nouveau Monde - Mojave (1862)
Voyage Pittoresque dans les Grands Deserts du Nouveau Monde - Vue du Grand Bassin (1862)
Report of the Exploring Expedition from Santa Fe - Head of Canon (Canyon), Colorado, Erosion of Triassic Series (1876)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Fig. 101b (1926)
Drawings by Frederic Remington - The Border of the Other Tribe (1897)
Sketches in North America and the Oregon Territory - Mound Hood (1848)
Three Wonderlands of the American West - Indians Burning Pottery, Laguna, New Mexico (1912)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 174 (1926)
Catlin's Indian Portfolio - Buffalo Dance (1844)
Journey from the Mississippi Vol. 1 - <i>Sequoia gigantea (Wellingtonia gigantea)</i> (1858)

Related Maps

Map Name
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Outline Map of the Indian Localities in 1833 (1926)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - United States Indian Frontier in 1840 (1926)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - A Chart Shewing the Moves of the Mandan and the Place of Their Extinction (1926)
Tertiary History of the Grand Canon [Atlas] - Geological Map of the Western Part of Plateau Province (1882)
Tertiary History of the Grand Canon [Atlas] - Sketch Map ... showing the Faults of the Grand Canon District. (1882)
Tertiary History of the Grand Canon [Atlas] - Map of the Uinkaret Plateau [North Half] (1882)
Tertiary History of the Grand Canon [Atlas] - Map of the Uinkaret Plateau [South Half] (1882)
Tertiary History of the Grand Canon [Atlas] - Map of the Uinkaret Plateau [Composite] (1882)
Tertiary History of the Grand Canon [Atlas] - Geologic Map of the Southern Part of the Kaibab Plateau. [Part I. North-Western Sheet] (1882)
Tertiary History of the Grand Canon [Atlas] - Geologic Map of the Southern Part of the Kaibab Plateau. [Part II. North-Eastern Sheet] (1882)
Tertiary History of the Grand Canon [Atlas] - Geologic Map of the Southern Part of the Kaibab Plateau. [Part III. South-Western Sheet] (1882)
Tertiary History of the Grand Canon [Atlas] - Geologic Map of the Southern Part of the Kaibab Plateau. [Part IV. South-Eastern Sheet] (1882)
Tertiary History of the Grand Canon [Atlas] - Geologic Map of the Southern Part of the Kaibab Plateau [Composite] (1882)
Tertiary History of the Grand Canon [Atlas] - Geologic Map Showing the South-Western Portion of the Mesozoic Terraces (1882)
Tertiary History of the Grand Canon [Atlas] - Geologic Map of the Mesozoic Terraces of the Grand Canon District (1882)
Tertiary History of the Grand Canon [Atlas] - Geologic Map Showing the Kanab, Paria and Marble Canon Platforms (1882)
Tertiary History of the Grand Canon [Atlas] - Geologic Map of the Colorado Plateau and San Francisco Mountains (1882)
Tertiary History of the Grand Canon [Atlas] - Geologic map sheets XX-XXIII [Composite] (1882)
Report of the Exploring Expedition from Santa Fe - Map of Exploration and Surveys in New Mexico and Utah (1876)
Map of the United States and Yerritories - Map of the United States and Territories (1868)
California: Its Past History; Its Present Position; Its Future Prospects - Map of Western North America (1850)

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