Carefully documented, with a foreword by Allan Nevins, this book by an authority on the American frontier (Ark of Empire, etc.) tells of the extension of that frontier beyond the Mississippi in the years between 1804 and 1845. Working from contemporary records, the author begins his narrative in St. Louis following the Louisiana Purchase, with an account of the nature of the frontier in 1804, and of the ""unprecedented undertaking"" of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. Writing of the West itself, the author tells of horses and Indians and buffalo, of settlers and mountain men and explorers, of traders and missionaries and their journeys to Santa Fe, California and Oregon before 1845. Many familiar tales of the early West are here, together with others less well known: the Burr-Wilkinson conspiracy, here told in documented detail; the story of the Great Earthquake of 1811, which shook both shores of the Mississippi and lasted months, and excellent account of that often overlooked ""genuine Hero"", Jedediah Smith ""compulsive explosive explorer"" and ""unquestionably the most indefatigable traveller of all time."" Lacking any touch of fictional romance, this accurate and highly readable book will appeal to Western buffs and to more seasoned historians, and will form an excellent reference volume for beginning students of the American Far West.