Grey’s Riders of the Purple Sage Launches the Western Genre (Great Events from History II: Arts and Culture Series)
Article abstract: Zane Grey combined the excitement of the frontier and a stirring human-interest story to capture an ongoing fascination with life in the nineteenth century American West.
Summary of Event
The exploration, taming, and settlement of the West is one of the most exciting phases of American history. The saga began with the United States’ purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France for fifteen million dollars in 1803. The purchase doubled the size of the United States; however, the northern and western boundaries of the territory acquired were vague, and the purchase actually paved the way for settlement of North America west to the Pacific Ocean.
This vast region offered numerous challenges to the bold and adventurous. Many indigenous tribes roamed the Great Plains, following the enormous buffalo herds. Both the tribes and the buffalo had to be reduced and controlled before the American settlement could succeed. In his novels, Zane Grey vividly described these and other challenges.
President Thomas Jefferson was responsible for the Louisiana Purchase, and he soon authorized an expedition to explore the territory and to cultivate friendly relationships with the indigenous tribes. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were approved by Congress to lead the expedition, which began its ascent of the Missouri River on May 14, 1804.
Lewis and Clark did make successful contact...
(The entire section is 1993 words.)
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