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The American West - July at ibiblio

Project Gutenberg offers a rich library of historic texts of the American West

Spotted Tail - Ogalala chief
Indian Heroes and Great Chieftains
by Charles A. Eastman.
"'Hay, hay, hay! Alas, alas!' Thus speaks the old man, when he knows that his former vigor and freedom is gone from him forever. So we may exclaim to-day, Alas! There is a time appointed to all things. Think for a moment how many multitudes of the animal tribes we ourselves have destroyed! Look upon the snow that appears to-day -- to-morrow it is water! Listen to the dirge of the dry leaves, that were green and vigorous but a few moons before! We are a part of this life and it seems that our time is come.
"Yet note how the decay of one nation invigorates another. This strange white man -- consider him, his gifts are manifold! His tireless brain, his busy hand do wonders for his race. Those things which we despise he holds as treasures; yet he is so great and so flourishing that there must be some virtue and truth in his philosophy. I wish to say to you, my friends: Be not moved alone by heated arguments and thoughts of revenge! These are for the young. We are young no longer; let us think well, and give counsel as old men!" A speech by Spotted Tail delivered at the great council on the Powder River, just before the attack on Fort Phil Kearny.

Calamity Jane

Life And Adventures of Calamity Jane
by Calamity Jane, 1852-1903

It was during this campaign that I was christened Calamity Jane. It was on Goose Creek, Wyoming, where the town of Sheridan is now located. Capt. Egan was in command of the Post. We were ordered out to quell an uprising of the Indians, and were out for several days, had numerous skirmishes during which six of the soldiers were killed and several severely wounded. When on returning to the Post we were ambushed about a mile and a half from our destination. When fired upon Capt. Egan was shot. I was riding in advance and on hearing the firing turned in my saddle and saw the Captain reeling in his saddle as though about to fall. I turned my horse and galloped back with all haste to his side and got there in time to catch him as he was falling. I lifted him onto my horse in front of me and succeeded in getting him safely to the Fort. Capt. Egan on recovering, laughingly said: ``I name you Calamity Jane, the heroine of the plains.'' ...more...

First Across the Continent; The Exploring Expedition of Lewis and Clark

Wyoming - wagons

by Noah Brooks

"The road along the creek is a narrow rocky path near the borders of very high precipices, from which a fall seems almost inevitable destruction. One of our horses slipped and rolled over with his load down the hillside, which was nearly perpendicular and strewed with large irregular rocks, nearly one hundred yards, and did not stop till he fell into the creek. We all expected he was killed, but to our astonishment, on taking off his load he rose, seemed but little injured, and in twenty minutes proceeded with his load. Having no other provision, we took some portable soup, our only refreshment during the day. This abstinence, joined with fatigue, has a visible effect on our health. The men are growing weak and losing their flesh very fast; several are afflicted with dysentery, and eruptions of the skin are very common."

Next day, the party descended the last of the Bitter Root range and reached level country. They were at last over the Great Divide.

Roger McGuinn Roger McGuinn's Folk Den
Songs of the Old West
Streets Of Laredo (Cowboy's Lament) The Brazos River
The Colorado Trail Home On The Range
Get Along Little Dogies
Buffalo Skinners
Old Texas Old Paint

Steep Trails
by John Muir

It was in those early beaver-days that the striking class of adventurers called "free trappers" made their appearance. Bold, enterprising men, eager to make money, and inclined at the same time to relish the license of a savage life, would set forth with a few traps and a gun and a hunting knife, content at first to venture only a short distance up the beaver streams nearest to the settlements, and where the Indians were not likely to molest them. There they would set their traps, while the buffalo, antelope, deer, etc., furnished a royal supply of food. In a few months their pack animals would be laden with thousands of dollars' worth of fur.

Next season they would venture farther, and again farther, meanwhile growing rapidly wilder, getting acquainted with the Indian tribes, and usually marrying among them. Thenceforward no danger could stay them in their exciting pursuit. Wherever there were beaver they would go, however far or wild,--the wilder the better, provided their scalps could be saved. Oftentimes they were compelled to set their traps and visit them by night and lie hid during the day, when operating in the neighborhood of hostile Indians. Not then venturing to make a fire or shoot game, they lived on the raw flesh of the beaver, perhaps seasoned with wild cresses or berries. Then, returning to the trading stations, they would spend their hard earnings in a few weeks of dissipation and "good time," and go again to the bears and beavers, until at length a bullet or arrow would end all... more...

The Virginian, Horseman of the Plains

by Owen Wister 1860-1938

The Virginian's pistol came out, and his hand lay on the table, holding it unaimed. And with a voice as gentle as ever, the voice that sounded almost like a caress, but drawling a very little more than usual, so that there was almost a space between each word, he issued his orders to the man Trampas: "When you call me that, SMILE." And he looked at Trampas across the table.

Cow Dreams -- Poems by Steve Lucas
poetry by a contemporary Wyoming cowboy transplanted to Charlottesville, Virginia

Myths and Legends of California and the Old Southwest by Katharine Berry Judson
Song of the Ghost Dance Pai Ute (Kern River, Cal.)

The snow lies there - ro-rani!
The snow lies there - ro-rani!
The snow lies there - ro-rani!
The snow lies there - ro-rani!
The Milky Way lies there.
The Milky Way lies there.
This is one of the favorite songs of the Paiute Ghost dance. . . . It must be remembered that the dance is held in the open air at night, with the stars shining down on the wide-extending plain walled in by the giant Sierras, more...

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