Old West

Trails West

Settlers started moving west as soon as the land by the eastern rivers was claimed.  Wanting the right to expand into more territory was one of the factors in the American Revolution, including anger at the Proclamation of 1763 that restricted further settlement. Indeed, many veterans of the Revolution received land grants in the west for their service.  In the late 1700s to the early 1800s, the West could mean Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and parts of Pennsylvania. As those places filled up, too, and immigrants kept on coming, they eventually spread across the plains and into the heartland.

Cowboys of the Wild West

By Russell Freedman

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Describes, in text and illustrations, the duties, clothes, equipment, and day-to-day life of the cowboys who flourished in the west from the 1860's to the 1890's

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Children of the Wild West

By Russell Freedman

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Historical photographs show what life was like for pioneer and Indian children growing up in the American West during the late nineteenth century.
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Buffalo Gals: Women of the Old West

By Brandon Marie Miller

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"Seeking religious freedom, economic prosperity, or 'elbow room,' thousands of women emigrated to the American West between the 1830s and the 1890s. They traveled alone or with their families by railroad, wagon train, and even on foot. Miller brings these pioneers' stories to life through quotations from diaries, letters, and vintage travel guides. Equally dramatic are the sepia-toned photographs that appear on nearly every page, the most delightful of which is a picture of two daredevils in long skirts cavorting on a rock formation in Yosemite Valley. While this title covers much of the same information as Judith Alter's Women of the Old West (Watts, 1989), it is livelier and gives more equitable coverage of African American pioneers, Native Americans, and Mexican Americans. Buffalo Gals will appeal to fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder's books, and to any student with a hankering for a good read. Yeeeee-ha!"--Rebecca O'Connell, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh for School Library Journal

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Buffalo Bill

By Nancy Robison

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The life story of the famous hero from his childhood and his teenage years as a Pony Express rider to his days as the showman who kept the legends of the Wild West alive.
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Bad Guys: True Stories of Legendary Gunslingers, Sidewinders, Fourflushers, Drygulchers, Bushwhackers, Freebooters, and Downright Bad Guys and Gals of the Wild West

By Andrew Glass

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Learn about famous outlaws: Wild Bill Hickok -- Calamity Jane -- Doc Holliday -- Jesse James -- Belle Starr -- Billy the Kid -- Joaquin Murietta -- Black Bart.
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The Negro Cowboys

By Philip Durham and Everett L. Jones

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"More than five thousand Negro cowboys joined the round-ups and served on the ranch crews in the cattleman era of the West. Lured by the open range, the chance for regular wages, and the opportunity to start new lives, they made vital contributions to the transformation of the West. They, their predecessors, and their successors rode on the long cattle drives, joined the cavalry, set up small businesses, fought on both sides of the law. Some of them became famous: Jim Beckwourth, the mountain man; Bill Pickett, king of the rodeo; Cherokee Bill, the most dangerous man in Indian Territory; and Nat Love, who styled himself 'Deadwood Dick.' They could hold their own with any creature, man or beast, that got in the way of a cattle drive. They worked hard, thought fast, and met or set the highest standards for cowboys and range riders."
Originally published in 1965.

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The Quilt That Walked To Golden

By Sandra Dallas and Nanette Simonds

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Quilts fill this narrative re-creation of the history of the West from the time of the early pioneers to the present day. The purpose of quilts and the art of quilting provide a window into the lives of women, their friendships, and their sorrows.

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An Outlaw Thanksgiving

By Emily Arnold McCully

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While travelling with her mother cross-country by train in 1896, a young girl unexpectedly shares Thanksgiving dinner with the notorious outlaw, Butch Cassidy. Based on a true story.

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The Righteous Revenge of Artemis Bonner

By Walter Dean Myers

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Fifteen-year-old Artemis journeys to Tombstone, Arizona, in 1882 to avenge the murder of his uncle, in a Western spoof complete with dastardly villains. 

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