Cover image for Distant horizon : documents from the nineteenth-century American West
Distant horizon : documents from the nineteenth-century American West
Noy, Gary, 1951-
Publication Information:
Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xviii, 467 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
"A Bison original"--P. [4] of cover.
Reading Level:
1320 Lexile.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F591 .D575 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The West has figured in the American imagination under many guises: as the last best place on earth, a refuge, an escape, a land of opportunity, but also as a place of conquest and failure. Where Lewis and Clark saw great possibilities, Native cultures found disappointment and loss. This collection presents the diverse and often contradictory accounts that make up the mosaic of the nineteenth-century American West.   From Thomas Hart Benton's famous speech in the Senate when he argued that non-white civilizations must fall before the western expansion of white Americans to Black Elk's story of a way of life lost on the frozen ground at Wounded Knee, Gary Noy offers a representative sampling of the many Wests that historians have strug-gled to define for over a century. Distant Horizon chronicles the dusty world of the cowboy, the hard-scrabble existence of the farmer and the settler, and the miner's vision of golden glory. It examines the independent nature of the explorer and mountain man and the sometimes heroic, sometimes cruel existence of the soldier. We hear the voices of those outside the mainstream of power--women and Westerners of color--and explore the most tragic element of Western history: the confinement, subjugation, and extermination of Native Americans. No other single volume provides as many readings on as many topics in the history of the American West.

Author Notes

Gary Noy is an instructor at Sierra Community College and a regular contributor for Sierra Heritage.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

This massive book is a gold mine of pieces documenting the lifestyle of the original settlers of the American West. The readings include newspaper articles, poetry, fiction, letters, journal entries, and government documents such as the Homestead Act. Each of the 11 sections is prefaced by notes and introductory comments from Noy, a contributor to Sierra Heritage. "Westerners of Color" shows the treatment of the divergent groups that have contributed to the development of the region, focusing on the accomplishments of minorities and their relationship to the dominant white American culture. The section outlining women in the West shows how they conformed to feminine roles in the face of hardship. "On Both Sides of the Tin Badge" outlines the role of the outlaw and the peacemaker, showing the prevalence of both vigilance and thievery. A section on soldiers details the impact of the Civil War. Overall, this collection is fascinating material for students, history buffs, and casual readers alike. Recommended for all libraries.ÄJoyce Sparrow, St. Petersburg P.L., FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xv
Chapter I The Spirit and the Mythp. i
Chapter 2 Explorers and Mountain Menp. 36
Chapter 3 Farmers and Townsfolkp. 84
Chapter 4 Bury Me in a Tree the Mining Frontierp. 129
Chapter 5 The Iron Horse the Railroad in the American Westp. 170
Chapter 6 The People and the Response Native Americans and the Dominant Culturep. 201
Chapter 7 On Both Sides of the Tin Badgep. 240
Chapter 8 Women of the American Westp. 270
Chapter 9 Westerners of Colorp. 316
Chapter 10 The Far-Flung Battle Line Soldiers in the American Westp. 361
Chapter II Cowboys and Cowmenp. 408
Sourcesp. 445
Indexp. 457