Beginning with a lucid geological history of the spectacular, spire-peaked Tetons of Wyoming and an alluring account of their flora and fauna, Sanborn moves on to the mountain range's place in human affairs. The ways of life of the area's successive inhabitants--Shoshoni Indians, fur trappers, explorers, cowboys, outlaws, homesteaders--are explored in careful and multi-hued detail through direct description and anecdote. Finally, the despoliation of the Tetons by man, the successful political battle to create the Grand Tetons National Park, and the likely geological future of this relatively new range are briefly discussed. Sanborn loves the Tetons, and the reader comes to understand her attachment. But comparison of her title and subtitle indicates an ambiguity of purpose. While concentrating on the Tetons, she sometimes seems tempted to encompass the whole West by tracing the careers of frontier figures only tangentially connected with those mountains. The vast trans-Mississippi cannot be chronicled within this slim volume, and the efforts to widen its scope occasionally disrupt a generally focused, purposeful, information-rich story. Meticulously reviewing her sources in a section divorced from the text, the author satisfies the curious reader without intruding upon the narrative with footnotes.