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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 Colorado - Cupel Furnace (1866)
Report of the Exploring Expedition from Santa Fe - Title Page (1876)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 238 (1926)
The Black Hills - A Cross Section Through Crow Peak (1876)
Voyage Pittoresque dans les Grands Deserts du Nouveau Monde - Vue du Minnesota (1862)
Drawings by Frederic Remington - The Punchers (1897)
Pencil Sketches of Montana - (1868)
Drawings by Frederic Remington - The Coming Storm (1897)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 271 (1926)
Drawings by Frederic Remington - Riding the Range - Winter (1897)
Journey from the Mississippi Vol. 1 - Indian's Drawings III (1858)
Voyage Pittoresque dans les Grands Deserts du Nouveau Monde - Cylindres Naturels (1862)
Report of the Exploring Expedition from Santa Fe - Carboniferous and Cretaceous Fossils (V) (1876)
Drawings by Frederic Remington - The Pony War Dance (1897)
Illustrated Notes of an Expedition through Mexico and California - Title Page (1852)
The Great Southwest - Canyon Diablo, Arizona (1919)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Fig. 18 (1926)
The Black Hills - Title Page (1876)
Journey from the Mississippi Vol. 1 - Title Page (1858)
Heroes of the Plains - Wild Bill and the Cinnamon Bear (1881)
Sketches in North America and the Oregon Territory - Buffalo Hunting on the W. Prairies (1848)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Fig. 28 (1926)
Drawings by Frederic Remington - The Charge (1897)
Voyage Pittoresque dans les Grands Deserts du Nouveau Monde - Vue du Haut Mississippi (1862)
Three Wonderlands of the American West - Tolete Gorge, Colorado (1912)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 164 (1926)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Fig. 82 (1926)
The Wonders of Geyserland - Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone Park (1913)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 140 (1926)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Fig. 114 (1926)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Fig. 11 (1926)
The Black Hills - East and West Section, Black Hills (1876)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 210b (1926)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 192 (1926)
Pencil Sketches of Montana - (1868)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Fig. 96 (1926)
Prince Izon; a Romance of the Grand Canyon - Route of the Aztecs (1910)
The Great Southwest - Gateway, Garden of the Gods, Colorado (1919)
Tertiary History of the Grand Canon [Atlas] - Views from Mt. Trumbull and Mt. Emma II (1882)
The Great Southwest - San Francisco Mountains, Arizona (1919)
Catlin's Indian Portfolio - Ball Play (1844)
Utah, the Land of Blossoming Valleys - General View of Salt Lake City (1922)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 311 (1926)
Drawings by Frederic Remington - Satisfying the Demands of Justice - The Head (1897)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Book Display [II] (1926)
Pencil Sketches of Montana - (1868)
Journey from the Mississippi Vol. 1 - San Francisco Mountains (Extinct Volcanos), New Mexico (1858)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 279 (1926)
The Black Hills - North and South Section, Black Hills (1876)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 270 (1926)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 226 (1926)
Pencil Sketches of Colorado - Book Display (1866)
Tertiary History of the Grand Canon [Atlas] - Map Of The Uinkaret Plateau North Half (1882)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 228 (1926)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 231 (1926)
Three Wonderlands of the American West - Rock Towers of the Rio Virgin, Grand Canyon (1912)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 198 (1926)
Mountains and Molehills - Title Page (1855)
Prince Izon; a Romance of the Grand Canyon - On the Parapet - Topeltzin's Magic (1910)
Voyage Pittoresque dans les Grands Deserts du Nouveau Monde - Chef Mandan (1862)
Report of the Exploring Expedition from Santa Fe - Carboniferous and Cretaceous Fossils (II) (1876)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Fig. 71 (1926)
The Great Southwest - Pueblo of Laguna, New Mexico (1919)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Fig. 83 (1926)
Prince Izon; a Romance of the Grand Canyon - The Battle at the Gate (1910)
The Great Southwest - "Old Baldy" From Smiley Heights, California (1919)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 248 (1926)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 190 (1926)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 277 (1926)
Heroes of the Plains - Buffalo Bill Wins the Championship (1881)
Journey from the Mississippi Vol. 1 - Indian's Drawings I (1858)
Drawings by Frederic Remington - Taking the Robe (1897)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Fig. 7 (1926)
Three Wonderlands of the American West - Map of Yellowstone (1912)
Three Wonderlands of the American West - Yosemite Valley, California (1912)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 143 (1926)
Three Wonderlands of the American West - A Glimpse of the Grand Canyon (1912)
The Great Southwest - Title Page (1919)
Voyage Pittoresque dans les Grands Deserts du Nouveau Monde - Collines Artificielles (1862)
Voyage Pittoresque dans les Grands Deserts du Nouveau Monde - Osage (1862)
Drawings by Frederic Remington - The Border of the Other Tribe (1897)
Drawings by Frederic Remington - Snow Indian or the Northwest Type (1897)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Front Cover (1926)
Drawings by Frederic Remington - The Hungry Winter (1897)
The Wonders of Geyserland - Fish Pot Hole Spring and Yellowstone Lake (1913)
Mountains and Molehills - The Winter of 1849 (1855)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 312 (1926)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Fig. 69 (1926)
Tertiary History of the Grand Canon [Atlas] - Geologic Map Of The Southern Part Of The Kaibab Plateau. [Part I. North-Western Sheet.] (1882)
Voyage Pittoresque dans les Grands Deserts du Nouveau Monde - Femme Indienne (1862)
California: Its Past History; Its Present Position; Its Future Prospects - Scene on a Branch of the Sacramento (1850)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Fig. 84 (1926)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 178 (1926)
Sketches in North America and the Oregon Territory - Title Page (1848)
North American Indians Vol. 1 - Fig. 14 (1926)
The Great Southwest - In Apache Land, Arizona (1919)
Sketches in North America and the Oregon Territory - Les Dalles, Columbia River (1848)
Tertiary History of the Grand Canon [Atlas] - Geologic Map Of The Colorado Plateau And San Francisco Mountains (1882)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 144 (1926)
North American Indians Vol. 2 - Fig. 283 (1926)

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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