Westward bore the quest, -- after beaver, after gold, after religious freedom, luring the opportunists, the predatory, the idealistic seekers. In prose as lean and disciplined as its heroes, spokesmen Walter Havighurst, Francis Parkman, Will James, Oliver La Farge, Wallace Stegner follow the pilgrimage of the pioneers. Fictional and factual vignettes flash before the reader in a sterling meld of art and scholarship to resurrect cowboy and trapper, Mormon and miner, longhorns and bison, recreating the Western prairie before the railroads crossed them. The loneliness and blood-letting necessary to settle this ""fair and fertile"" land are memorably recalled here. There is infectious excitement to the chronicle of heroism and heritage.