From the first wagon trains to the building of the railroads, the story of the American West is epic in scope, full of amazing stories of grit, tragedy, and triumph. Lavishly illustrated with photographs and maps, this is the definitive history of a time and place that forever lives in legend. Travel with fur traders and trappers through the Pacific northwest; read accounts of brave pioneers heading west along the Oregon Trail; see 19th century technology progress as the golden spike connects the east and west coasts; and learn the stories of unforgettable characters who made the American West. The history starts with the early explorers who laid claim to the west, altering forever the lives and lands of the Native Americans. Illustrations and archival imagery illuminate the conquest by the Spanish and other Europeans, exploration by Americans, the land rushes by settlers, the Indian Wars, the gold rushes, cowboy culture, loggers, railroad builders, and more. Sidebars showcase fascinating figures and topics of the Old West, including: Annie Oakley, gunslinger and performer; the rise of the copper kings; western motion pictures; feuds between cowboys, ranchers, and sheep herders, and more.