Cover image for Yellowstone : the creation and selling of an American landscape, 1870-1903
Yellowstone : the creation and selling of an American landscape, 1870-1903
Magoc, Chris J., 1960-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Albuquerque : University of New Mexico Press ; Helena : Montana Historical Society Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xvi, 266 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
A pleasureing ground -- The selling of wonderland -- 1883: the enterprise -- The eatable parts -- The march of civil improvement -- Indians, animals, and Yellowstone defenders -- From wonderland to ecosystem -- Notes -- Works cited -- Index.
Reading Level:
1550 Lexile.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F722 .M23 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Examines the American myths and late-Victorian values behind the movement both to preserve the Yellowstone wilderness and to extract its natural resources--codifying the ultimate American landscape.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

This recent addition to the parallel lives genre is a superbly told tale of the vicious Apache wars of the 1880s in Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico. Drawing upon a variety of original sources, Kraft (Custer and the Cheyenne) reconstructs the complex story of the famous Chiricahua leader Geronimo, a medicine man who came forward as a tribal leader and headed resistance to the coerced settlement of his people on reservations where they were to become farmers instead of nomadic hunters. Lt. Charles B. Gatewood of the 6th U.S. Cavalry was posted to Arizona in 1878 and became a respected leader of Apache scouts, who tracked Apache guerrillas for the U.S. The frail lieutenant, sent to administer the Apache reservation, seemingly treated his charges fairly, earning the enmity of civilians and army brass, which led to a stalemated career and a lengthy court case brought by a man whom Gatewood arrested for defrauding Apaches. After meeting at various times and maintaining a mutual respect, Gatewood and Geronimo came together again in 1886, when the former was ordered to track the latter to Mexico and convince him to surrender, even as columns of American and Mexican troops searched for Geronimo's elusive group. The tension and frustrations of what was Gatewood's final mission are palpable, as he convinces Geronimo to allow the tribe's "relocation" to Florida. Gatewood, who gets much fuller treatment here than his counterpart, never got his due for brilliant service in a tragically misguided cause, and Geronimo never again saw his homeland or many of his family, from whom he was separated. Photos. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

Magoc's book is an interdisciplinary study of the origin and earliest history of the first national park in the US (and the world), founded in 1872. Magoc examines 19th-century economic and cultural forces far removed from Yellowstone's boundaries, forces that turned the region into something of a mythic Victorian wonderland and that shaped the American perception of the park for generations. The myth has led to environmental policy decisions by park managers and bureaucrats that often had disastrous consequences (including the 1988 conflagration). Magoc focuses on the economic motives of several of the early park proponents, including those of the powerful Northern Pacific Railroad, and he discusses how tourism has always played a crucial function in shaping the ecological history of Yellowstone. The author also discusses the recent wolf and bison imbroglios that have thrust the park squarely into the national consciousness. Many early photos and maps accompany the text, as does an extensive bibliography. The book is a valuable complement to Alfred Runte's, National Parks: The American Experience (CH, May'80) and should become the standard environmental history of the founding years of Yellowstone. Recommended for college libraries. K. Edgerton; Montana State University at Billings

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Chapter 1 a "Pleasureing-Ground"p. 1
Chapter 2 the Selling of Wonderlandp. 21
Chapter 3 1883: the Enterprisep. 53
Chapter 4 the Eatable Partsp. 78
Chapter 5 the March of Civil Improvementp. 107
Chapter 6 Indians, Animals, and Yellowstone Defendersp. 138
Chapter 7 from Wonderland to Ecosystemp. 168
Notesp. 193
Works Citedp. 235
Indexp. 255