The American West was hard country during the 1860s-1890s. Men with uncommon ambition achieved fame and fortune, but Gustavus Doane was not one of those men.
Although he fought in the Civil War, served as an officer in major Indian battles, led an expedition into Yellowstone and even participated in an Arctic expedition, his life was one of frustrated goals and lack of recognition. Under a backdrop of his passionate engagement in the most important events of the century, the biography unfolds the character of a brilliant, somewhat cold man who dies before achieving his major ambition: the administration of Yellowstone National Park. —Cynthia Green