Let’s celebrate seven decades of lively debate about our imperfect past.

Levity Indeed! This very good example of an archival cartoon that editor Stuart Rosebrook found in his research of grizzly bear art is
very authentic to the humor of the times. This is in our wheelhouse and underscores how we need to lighten up and not take ourselves so seriously. Illustration by John S. Pughe Puck, April 10, 1901, Courtesy Library of Congress


For the past seven decades we have been having a very lively conversation with our readers about the American Frontier. Most of that conversation comes down to this: What really happened in a particular event and what does it mean? Our conclusions are often diametrically opposed to what the storytellers tell us happened. And that includes all the books, all the movies and all the TV shows. What and where is the truth in all that noise? That is our mission, and here is what I believe is our voice:

We do our best to come to the debate armed with three things:

  1. Authenticity
  2. Honesty
  3. Levity

Our writers and contributors are passionate about our history, and they have the scholarship to back it up. We are honest when we get it wrong. (See Jana Bommersbach’s mea culpa for our association with Glenn Boyer in the early 1990s.) And, beyond that, the only thing we take seriously, is to not take ourselves too seriously, i.e., levity. We believe if we’re not laughing at ourselves a little bit, we are not being authentic—or honest.

In our articles we strive for the three Cs: clarity, context and compassion. With all the blame games going on today, it’s sometimes hard to put things in context, much less find compassion for the people involved, not to mention all the people who hate our history.

But we think it’s important.

And, as we contemplate our 71st year of publishing the true stories of the American Frontier, we hope you all will be along for the ride.

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