Manifest Destiny (03:39)
In the 1830s and 1840s, American pioneers, seeing themselves as conquerors of an empire and driven by a belief in Manifest Destiny, pushed westward into lands already claimed by Mexico.
Battle of the Alamo (02:05)
The Battle of the Alamo is portrayed in paintings that glorify Western efforts and heroes.
Manifest Destiny vs. Pioneer Settlements (03:13)
The U.S. government sends expeditions and mapmakers into the "great American desert" to claim all territory. Once settled on their land, pioneers wanted nothing to do with Mexico's claims on the land.
Media Popularization of the War Against Mexico (04:05)
The U.S. government uses the printing press to popularize the war against Mexico so that whole communities would take up arms and fight.
Victory over Mexico and America's New Territory (04:33)
Though artists portray two different views of the war with Mexico, the brutality and the massacre of innocents was reality. The U.S. won over one million square miles of new territory that needed to be charted, explored, and depicted in paintings.
Westward Journey: Indians, Disease, and Death (05:42)
After the Mexican War, much of the former Indian territory became a "highway" for pioneers, mapmakers, and explorers. Diarists and photographers tell of the journey to the Promised Land along the Oregon Trail.
Democratic Ideal of the West (05:06)
Between 1840 and 1869, 300,000 people traveled the Oregon Trail into the West. Pioneers carried a democratic ideal with them. Charles Bingham painted "ordinary folks" getting on with the business of living in the West.
California Gold Rush (04:10)
In 1948, discovery of gold in California attracted prospectors and the artists who idealized and mocked the prospectors' dreams. Their paintings often depict the moral pitfalls of gold fever.
Gold Country: World Without Women (04:50)
Lotta Crabtree, a child entertainer who traveled through the gold mining country, reminded miners of loved ones left behind. Mining went underground when the surface gold in California disappeared.
Hydraulic Mining and Boomtowns (05:02)
Hydraulic mining operations in the 1880s ravaged California's landscapes and rivers while, at the same time, artists portrayed the pristine nature of the Sierras. Boomtowns spawned outlaws and attracted Eastern gentry and immigrants.
San Francisco: Story of the Booming West (05:51)
Seen through the eyes of artists and photographers, San Francisco epitomizes a city transformed by the Gold Rush. The city's architecture represents its diverse influences. Photographs show the San Francisco fire of 1906.
Postlude: Overview of Westward Movement (02:53)
The film series creator discusses with James Whitmore the forces and attractions that prompted the massive westward movement of Americans. He discusses artist Bingham's paintings in particular.
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