How the West Was Lost
  • Colin G. Calloway
Part of the The Bedford Series in History and Culture book series (BSHC)


The story of how the West was won holds a central place in American history, in popular imagination about the country’s past, and even in America’s sense of identity. Although there were many wests, and the struggle for the continent was fought many times in many different places, the era of American exploration, conquest, and settlement of the Great Plains in the nineteenth century is by far the most famous. The Lewis and Clark expedition, the fur trade, Manifest Destiny, wagon trains rolling across the plains to Oregon and California, Indian wars, cattle drives, and railroad-building all represent chapters in a story familiar, at least in its broad outlines and as popularized by Hollywood, to most Americans. Indians usually feature in the story as either savage opponents of civilization or helpless victims of an empire-building nation, depending on one’s point of view. In either case, their history is a subplot in the national epic, and their actions and experiences usually receive minimal attention.


Great Plain Indian People Northern Plain Southern Plain Indian Police 
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Copyright information

© BEDFORD BOOKS of St. Martin’s Press 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Colin G. Calloway
    • 1
  1. 1.Dartmouth CollegeUSA

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