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An absorbing collection of more than 150 diverse vignettes excerpted from the published journals and diaries who lived or traveled to the Old West, these stories begin with the sixteenth-century cultural collisions between the Spainiards and the Native Americans and conclude with Black Elk's mournful description of the Battle of Wounded Knee in 1890. All of the elements that comprise our understanding of the settlement of the West- Native American depredations, captivity, death, birthing, the forces of nature, confrontations with wild animals, massacres, law and justice, and the inevitable advance of civilization- are represented in these myriad accounts. And while some stories do discuss particular historic events, most are accounts of the human condition under the duress of untamed nature, at times lawless surroundings, and outright war with unwelcome invaders. Written by a diversity of storytellers, including explorers, missionaries, Native American leaders, a poet, an artist, and a future president, Eyewitness to the Old West places th reader face-to-face with the men and women who experienced one of the most electrifying epochs in American history.