History | The American West: Myth & Reality
A300 | 4465 | Taysom


This is a course on the great American West, its mythology in
literature and the movies, its history according to the historians,
and the accounts of the people who lived in the West from the end of
the Civil War to the beginning of WWI.  We will explore the
development of the West from the frontier and pioneer days of the
Wild West, to the time when the people of the great West became
accepted by the rest of the nation as part of the mainstream of
American life.  We will study the icon of the American cowboy, the
Plains Wars of the Native Americans, African Americans in the West,
the Alamo, all kinds of women that lived in the West, the military
in the West, trappers, gunslingers (the whole dang blang shootin’
match is heah, bucko!), ghost towns, gold and silver mining, saloons
and saloon girls, Kit Carson, Wyatt, Earp, Wild Bill Hickok, Davy
Crocket, Billy the Kid, Jesse James, Roy Rogers, Matt Dillon, and,
(oh yeah, that guy), John Wayne in a multitude of movie roles, plus
the lives of ordinary citizens making their way in the West “without
no help from nobody!”  We’ll be looking at quite a few westerns, so
come prepared for a lot of shootin’ and a whole lot of noise.

There will be two in-class exams (20% each for a total of 40%), one
primary source project (20%) and a take-home comprehensive final
(25%).  Attendance and participation (15%).