Skip to main content Skip to navigation

American West

Green and Roughshod cover
Winter 2017

Green and Roughshod: I Should’ve Stayed a Montana Cowboy

Green and Roughshod cover

Dan H. McLachlan ’66, ’69 MA

Aventine Press: 2016

 

The dream of a little boy to become a cowboy came true for Dan McLachlan. He read a 1927 text, All in the Day’s Riding, as an eighth-grader in Palo Alto, California, and became enamored with the vision of a wide blue sky viewed from horseback. After earning enough to buy two horses and tack, he eventually ended up in Montana for … » More …

Trout Culture cover
Spring 2016

Trout Culture: How Fly Fishing Forever Changed the Rocky Mountain West

Trout Culture cover

Jen Corrinne Brown ’12 PhD

University of Washington Press: 2015

With help from Hollywood and even popular beer labels, the Rocky Mountain region of the American West enjoys an iconic reputation for wild and natural fishing. It’s where rugged individualists reconnect with nature through timeless traditions.

Missing from the customary narrative are the generations of human intervention, environmental manipulation, and social transformation.

Brown, who earned a history doctorate from WSU in 2012, calls … » More …

Astoria Bridge
Spring 2015

The West in the words of Washington Irving

“The broad and beautiful Columbia lay before them, smooth and unruffled as a mirror … .

“About thirty miles above Point Vancouver the mountains again approach on both sides of the river, which is bordered by stupendous precipices, covered with the fir and the white cedar, and enlivened occasionally by beautiful cascades leaping from a great height, and sending up wreaths of vapor.” —Astoria

Cowperson with horse
Spring 2015

A Re-dress of the West

Joe Monahan, from all appearances a typical American frontiersman, arrived in Idaho Territory in the late 1860s. He was lured by the promise of fortune in the hillsides and settled in Owyhee County, which The New York Times had described as “a vast treasury” with “the richest and most valuable silver mines yet known to the world.”

Monahan built a cabin and mined a claim. He also worked as a cowboy with an outfit in Oregon.

When he returned to Idaho, he settled into a dugout near the frontier town of Rockville. An 1898 directory lists him as “Joseph Monahan, cattleman.” And his neighbors described … » More …

First Words
Spring 2015

First Words

Last summer on a visit to the Hudson River Valley, I took a morning to explore Washington Irving’s home. Wandering through the property in the sticky humidity so particular to the East Coast I peered into Irving’s vine-covered house, Sunnyside, and pictured the author at his desk honing his iconic New England stories like the “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle.” Never did I imagine the prolific writer also sat there crafting one of the first descriptions of the West Coast for a nation of readers.

Astoria, published in 1836, traces the efforts of John Jacob Astor, the nation’s first multi-millionaire, to … » More …

John Mullan
Summer 2014

Lost Highway

John Mullan closed the last link of the Northwest Passage and vanished from history—until now

On a May morning in 1858, along a small creek on the northern edge of the Palouse, hundreds of warriors from several Inland Northwest Indian tribes closed in on 160 Army soldiers led by Col. Edward Steptoe. An Army retreat turned into a 10-hour running battle. Two company commanders were mortally wounded, panicking the men. At last, the troops took up defensive positions on a hillside in what is today Rosalia. As night fell, they were surrounded, outgunned, and down to two rounds of ammunition apiece.

More than a … » More …

Yankee on Puget Sound
Spring 2014

A Yankee on Puget Sound

a yankee on puget sound

Karen L. Johnson ’78 and Dennis M. Larsen ’68
WSU Press, 2013

Pioneer Edward Jay Allen lived near Olympia when the Oregon Territory was split in two and federal politicians elected to name the new territory Washington, rejecting the local suggestion of Columbia. Allen helped survey a wagon road over Naches Pass, a backcountry route still in use by those who favor mud and adversity over miles per gallon and speed. Future Union general George B. McClellan shared a cabin with Allen one summer, leading to a fast friendship a decade before … » More …