Contested Plains Indians, Goldseekers and the Rush to Colorado

ISBN-10: 0700610294
ISBN-13: 9780700610297
Edition: 1998
Authors: Elliott West
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Description: Deftly retracing a pivotal chapter in one of America's most dramatic stories, Elliott West chronicles the struggles, triumphs, and defeats of both Indians and whites as they pursued their clashing dreams of greatness in the heart of the continent.  More...

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Book details

List price: $18.95
Copyright year: 1998
Publisher: University Press of Kansas
Publication date: 4/24/1998
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 446
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.694
Language: English

Deftly retracing a pivotal chapter in one of America's most dramatic stories, Elliott West chronicles the struggles, triumphs, and defeats of both Indians and whites as they pursued their clashing dreams of greatness in the heart of the continent. The Contested Plains recounts the rise of the Native American horse culture, white Americans' discovery and pursuit of gold in the Rocky Mountains, and the wrenching changes and bitter conflicts that ensued. After centuries of many peoples fashioning many cultures on the plains, the Cheyennes and other tribes found in the horse the power to create a heroic way of life that dominated one of the world's great grasslands. Then the discovery of gold challenged that way of life and led finally to the infamous massacre at Sand Creek and the Indian Wars of the late 1860s. Illuminating both the ancient and more recent history of the plains and eastern Rocky Mountains, West weaves together a brilliant tapestry interlaced with environmental, social, and military history. He treats the "frontier" not as a morally loaded term-either in the traditional celebratory sense or the more recent critical sense-but as a powerfully unsettling process that shattered an old world. He shows how Indians, goldseekers, haulers, merchants, ranchers, and farmers all contributed to and in turn were consumed by this process, even as the plains themselves were uttlerly transformed by the clash of cultures and competing visions. Exciting and enormously engaging, The Contested Plains is the first book to examine the Colorado gold rush as the key event in the modern transformation of the central great plains. It also exemplifies a kind of history that respects more fully our rich and ambiguous past-a past in which there are many actors but no simple lessons.

Elliott West is Professor of American History at the University of Arkansas.

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Prologue: A Scrap and a Panic
Visions
The Old World
Frontiers and Visions
The Called Out People
Gold Rush
The Gold
The Gathering
The Rush
Power
Path of Empire
On the Road to a Flourishing Mountain State
The People of the Centre
The Miseries of Failure
Epilogue: Stories in the Teeth of Life
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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