The "settling" of the American West has been perceived throughout the world as a series of quaint, violent, and romantic adventures. But in fact, Patricia Nelson Limerick argues, the West has a history grounded primarily in economic reality; in hardheaded questions of profit, loss, competition, and consolidation. Here she interprets the stories and the characters in a new way: the trappers, traders, Indians, farmers, oilmen, cowboys, and sheriffs of the Old West "meant business" in more ways than one, and their descendents mean business today.
"In stripping the frontier of kitsch fantasy, Patricia Limerick has prised us away from an Ivy League model of a land of conquest and open opportunity. She offers instead the earthy, uncomfortable reality of a living west." The Guardian"