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By Richard White

Log cabins and wagon trains, cowboys and Indians, Buffalo invoice and normal Custer. those and different frontier photographs pervade our lives, from fiction to movies to advertisements, the place they connect themselves to items from pancake syrup to cologne, blue denims to banks. Richard White and Patricia Limerick subscribe to their inimitable skills to discover our nationwide preoccupation with this uniquely American image.

Richard White examines the 2 so much enduring tales of the frontier, either instructed in Chicago in 1893, the yr of the Columbian Exposition. One was once Frederick Jackson Turner's remarkably influential lecture, "The importance of the Frontier in American History"; the opposite came about in William "Buffalo invoice" Cody's flamboyant extravaganza, "The Wild West." Turner mentioned the peaceable cost of an empty continent, a story that put Indians on the margins. Cody's tale positioned Indians—and bloody battles—at heart level, and culminated with the conflict of the Little Bighorn, popularly often called "Custer's final Stand." doubtless contradictory, those tales jointly exhibit a sophisticated nationwide identity.

Patricia Limerick exhibits how the tales took on a lifetime of their very own within the 20th century and have been then reshaped by way of extra voices—those of Indians, Mexicans, African-Americans, and others, whose types revisit the query of what it potential to be an American.

Generously illustrated, engagingly written, and peopled with such unforgettable characters as Sitting Bull, Captain Jack Crawford, and Annie Oakley, The Frontier in American Culture reminds us that regardless of the divisions and denials the western flow sparked, a dead ringer for the frontier unites us in astounding ways.

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The Frontier in American Culture

Log cabins and wagon trains, cowboys and Indians, Buffalo invoice and normal Custer. those and different frontier photographs pervade our lives, from fiction to movies to advertisements, the place they connect themselves to items from pancake syrup to cologne, blue denims to banks. Richard White and Patricia Limerick sign up for their inimitable skills to discover our nationwide preoccupation with this uniquely American picture.

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For millions of people his representation of the West became the reality. The genius of Buffalo Bill was to recognize the power of the mimetic, of the imitation, in the modern world. Captain Jack Crawford, who joined Buffalo Bill in these pre-Wild West performances in I 877, was equally attuned to the power of the mimetic. Captain Jack, the Poet Scout (Figure I7), went on to a long career of his own, but Custer and Buffalo Bill gave him his big break. Jack Crawford was an Irish immigrant who had worked in the coal mines of Pennsylvania.

To drive these over a mountain road takes both hands feet and head its no lady'sjob. 7H Russell made the same point even more pithily in a painting, The Old Story: a car spooks a team of horses pulling a buckboard, throwing the cowboy holding the reins while the well-dressed goggled motorist in his machine looks on. 79 In defining the frontier as both the engine of progress and the domain of real men who dominated other men and nature, Russell, Turner, and Buffalo Bill had seemingly painted themselves into a corner.

Small villages of French Canadians appear on the map, but Willard has completely erased Indians. This message of settlers peacefully occupying vacant territory recurred in the popular literature of the West. " FREDERICK JACKSON TURNER AND BUFFALO BILL 17 F 1G u R 1:: s. 8. 0 bearded, stalwart, westmost men, So tower-like, so Gothic built! A kingdom won without the guilt Of studied battle, that hath been Your blood's inheritance.... 214 Turner, like Miller, recognized conflict with the Indians, but for him it was merely part of a much larger contact with wilderness that engulfed settlers in a primitive world and necessitated the pioneers' initial regression 18 RICHARD WHITE FIGURE 6.

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