A century and a half ago, the nation was on the move. Just two years after the Civil War, millions of veterans and their families on both sides of the war were rebuilding their lives, many moving West for new opportunities and a chance to leave the past behind them. Entrepreneurial Texans hired hundreds of young men to drive wild longhorns north to railheads to feed the burgeoning immigrant cities of industry in the north. Homesteaders, bonanza-seekers and town-builders staked out their futures all across the vast lands of the Western United States. Railroad-builders hired thousands of laborers to build the transcontinental railway, which in turn led to new roads, new towns and new conflicts with the American Indian tribes whose homelands were being overrun with the men, women and families who trailed behind the rail and mining camps, settling on farms and in ranching villages dotting the plains, valleys and mountains from the Missouri River to the Pacific Coast. The U.S. Army followed close behind, restoring, rebuilding and constructing lines of forts and outposts throughout the conflicted lands, with warfare and battle a daily possibility in every state and territory of the West for the next 23 years.
Today, 150 years since the first cattle drives followed on what would become known as the Chisholm Trail from south Texas to Abilene, Kansas, travelers can immerse themselves in Western history and heritage in every state. Travel along with our authors as they go in search of the famous and infamous, the working man and woman, the scientist and soldier, the great chiefs and the future legends. Like their predecessors—who arrived in the West on foot, horse, wagon or railcar—our authors have walked in the footsteps, driven the byways, and even taken to the trail on horseback and enjoyed a meal beside a campfire under the Western stars, to share their passion for the West with True West’s readers. So, pull out your map, your guidebook and start planning your adventure to the West, where history and heroes await your arrival.