Many people are wondering whether it is too late to restore the environment to health. I don’t know the answer, but I HOPE that it is not too late! The poem below is the last of my three environment-themed Halloween Sonnets.
Ingrid’s Halloween Sonnet Festival inspired me to learn to write sonnets. Few things scare me more than the impending doom of global warming, climate change, deforestation, species extinction, and pollution. We need to change our ways NOW if we hope to prevent the ubiquitous doomsday predictions from coming true.
Check out the Halloween Sonnet Festival on Ingrid’s blog, experimentsinfiction.com!
The Thirteen Colonies won their independence from England. The United States of America at this time consisted of thirteen states which extended to the Mississippi River on the west. Territories to the south and west were controlled by Spain, France, and Russia. Canadian borders were being established to the north. Of course, Native Americans already lived in the Americas when Europeans arrived, a fact Europeans often chose to ignore.
Mountain men were fur traders and trappers who explored the American West. They lived among the Native Americans, learned tribal languages, and often married Native American wives.
The Louisiana Purchase. The US bought the Louisiana Territory from France. President Thomas Jefferson sent the Lewis & Clark Expedition to explore the West. Their journals recorded the topography, Native American tribes they visited, and plants and animals they found.
Sacagawea, a sixteen-year-old Native American guide and translator, joined the expedition with her French Canadian explorer husband and infant son. She was invaluable to the expedition, and in 1794, a one dollar coin was first minted in her honor. On the coin is an image of Sacagawea carrying her baby on her back.
The Western Expansion. Settlers moved to land West of the Mississippi River, traveling on foot, on horseback, and by canoes, river rafts, and Conestoga wagons.
The US continued to purchase territories. A doctrine called “Manifest Destiny” stated that it was ordained by God that the US should occupy all the land from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.
Native Americans resisted the takeover of their land. There were many conflicts and wars between the Settlers, US soldiers, and the Native Americans. US soldiers manned numerous forts along the trail to protect the wagon trains and the settlers who now lived on the Great Plains.
The Great Migration. During this time, 350,000 settlers traveled to California and the Oregon Territories. Steam-powered riverboats and eventually stage coaches became available. Telegraph lines soon linked East and West. The US now stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.
Many new states had been admitted to the Union as settlers moved west, some where slavery was legal, and some where slavery was illegal. This was a tumultuous time in American history which culminated in a bloody civil war.
Gold was discovered in California, and the California Gold Rush began. “Forty-niners” went to California in search of gold. A few of them did “strike it rich.” Many more did not.
Towns sprang up where gold and silver were discovered. When the mines played out, the towns were abandoned. Ghost Towns still exist in the American West.
The American Civil War was fought between the Union (Northern States) and the Confederacy (Southern States.) It was a devastating and bloody conflict that centered around issues of slavery.
The First Transcontinental Railroad was completed, joining East and West. This marked the end of the Era known as the Great Migration.
Into the West, a six-part series from executive producer, Steven Spielberg. Available on YouTube.
Two families, one Native American and the other White, live through the events of the American westward movement.
Little House on the Prairie, TV series based on the Little House series of books by Laura Ingals Wilder. Story of a family growing up on a farm near a small prairie town.
Michael Landon, Mellissa Gilbert, Karen Grassle, Melissa Sue Anderson.
Bonanza, TV Series. A rancher and his sons are involved in many issues of the day.
Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Pernell Roberts, Dan Blocker.
Oklahoma, a movie musical about a girl coming of age on an Oklahoma farm.
Shirley Jones, Gordon McRae.
Paint Your Wagon, a movie musical comedy set in a Gold Rush mining town. A Mormon woman marries two men.
Clint Eastwood, Lee Marvin, Jean Seberg.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, a hilarious movie musical with critically-acclaimed dance sequences.
Howard Keel, Jane Powell.
Jeremiah Johnson, a movie that tells the story of a mountain man and his encounters with grizzly bears.
Robert Redford, Will Geer.
Dances with Wolves, a movie about a Civil War hero who is eager to see the old West and is assigned to a fort. Arriving at an abandoned fort, he gets to know a local tribe of Native Americans. He spends time in their camp, going on a buffalo hunt and falling in love with a white woman who lives with them.
Directed by and starring Kevin Costner.
River of No Return, a movie about danger, romance, and redemption on a river raft headed west.
Robert Mitchum, Marilyn Monroe.
Sarah Plain and Tall, movie. A mail order bride from New England becomes part of a farm family in the West.
Glenn Close, Christopher Walken.
McClintock, a hilarious western comedy movie reminiscent of Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew.”
John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara.
Westerns on this List
The majority of the westerns on this list were chosen for authenticity. They allow the viewer to experience the American westward movement and life on the American frontier. Many of the westerns listed feature iconic actors and gorgeous western scenery.
Excellent documentaries about the old West have been made. Though they are not listed here, I like watching them.
The classic westerns listed are widely available on television, cable movie channels, Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, and similar venues.
I hope you find something you enjoy!
For further information, try Wikipedia, a helpful source of information used for this post.
We are in a holding pattern at our house. Robert’s cataract surgery has been postponed because of an infection in a root canal. The infection, which didn’t show up in dental x-rays, was finally discovered with a 3-D scan. After the root canal is redone, antibiotics, and no infection for several weeks, cataract surgery can be rescheduled. Thank you for understanding if I am a little erratic on WordPress for a while.
I continue fighting very slow, unresponsive emails even after updating my computer with Apple, and still need to check out the problem with our internet provider as well as WordPress. Our TV reception, on the same system, is also having problems. I am reading a few emails when I can between doctor and dentist appointments. Also, I am now the designated driver for both of us. I look forward to being back full-time on WordPress soon after Robert’s cataract surgery is completed in September. I hope life is treating you well.