The history of the American West is full of intriguing life stories, and the fifteen essays in this collection weave a selection of those lives together to focus on the main currents in the region's history. The first five essays cover the period from contact to the mid-nineteenth century and feature Indian leaders and Spanish colonisers, characters from the Mexican period, explorers, mountain men, and missionaries. Familiar names in this portion are Juan Bautista de Anza, Stephen F. Austin, Dona Tules, Lewis and Clark, Jedediah Smith, and Narcissa Whitman. The second group of essays reflects on Mormons, miners, California Hispanics, American Indians, ranchers, farmers, and the Wild West of Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley. The essays on the twentieth-century West examine the careers of James J. Hill, John Muir, Jeannette Rankin, Aimee Semple McPherson, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Walt Disney, Cesar Chavez, Barbara Jordan, Microsoft's Paul Allen, and the mythical figure of Rosie the Riveter.