Somehow this doesn't march forward with quite the gusto and pace one is led to expect from Stanley Vestal. But, even so, it is a tale of brave men, and some not so brave, who helped break this bloody trail to the SW, before railroads broke through in the late '70's. One is shown glimpses of the hardships endured by these intrepid folk, the struggles with Indians and with nature. We see the founding of villages, long since ghost towns -- and others that have prospered. We meet the famous Brents, gentleman traders and soldiers. We meet gallant Kit Carson, who respected the Indians -- and others who berated them. We meet fortune hunters, and frontiersmen, adventurers all. A broad canvas, full of color and drama -- at times too detailed to hold interest.