Geologists Open Up the West in 1864 (04:42)
The Rockies and Sierra Nevada remained largely unexplored until dreamers, artists, poets, and a generation of scientists began exploring and mapping boundaries of the Yosemite Valley.
1860s: Paintings of the West (03:45)
For the public back east, only paintings on a grand scale could impart the splendor of Yosemite. Of gigantic dimensions, Albert Bierstadt's painting of the Rockies appears at an 1864 exhibition.
Idealized Dream of the Rockies (02:48)
As Albert Bierstadt's vision of the Rockies expands, his paintings begin to portray a mythical land. Fitz Hugh Ludlow put into words what Bierstadt painted. Excerpts include Ludlow's "stairs of heaven" description.
Yosemite: Tourists, Painters, and Photographers (04:12)
Archival photos show tourists in Yosemite. Not only tourists, but also painters and photographers were also lured to Yosemite, such as Albert Bierstadt, Eadweard Muybridge, and C.L. Weed.
American West: Photographers and Their Art (03:57)
In the 1860s and 1870s, photographers carry darkrooms on mule back. A reenactment of the photographer's art shows how he composes, shoots, and develops his photographs on the trail.
Role of Artists and Painters in Preserving Yellowstone (05:50)
In 1870, Nathaniel P. Langford and his colleagues plan to make Yellowstone a national park. Artists and painters revealed a Yellowstone that legislators were persuaded to preserve as America's (and the world's) first national park.
Railroads Open Up the American West (05:02)
The railroad becomes an icon of America's progress into the West. Photographers and journalists accompanied the railroad's progress and documented the small towns, riff-raff, crime, and death along the way.
U.S. Cavalry vs. American Plains Indians (04:43)
After 1869, rail lines crossed Indian lands, and white hunters killed nearly all the buffalo. The Indians were left to starve and freeze to death. Artists portrayed the valor of the cavalry, but photographs showed the truth.
Emblems of Romantic Heroism (03:09)
Painter Frederic Remington made heroes of America's cavalrymen. Charles Schreyvogel elevates Buffalo Bill Cody to heroic proportions. With arrogance and determination, Gen. Custer defies treaties and marches into the Black Hills.
1876: America's 100th Birthday Celebration (02:16)
America's birthday celebration is marked by its pride in American machinery—engines of progress that would power the destiny of the nation. A steam-powered elevator and the Gatling gun are featured.
1876: Custer's Last Stand (03:07)
Because of broken treaties, Gen. Custer and all his men died at the Battle of Little Big Horn. Eyewitness drawings by Indians differ from painter and journalist accounts of the battle.
Chief Sitting Bull (04:11)
Chief Sitting Bull gives his account of the Battle of Little Big Horn in which Custer and all his men died. He acknowledges the courage and determination of the white soldiers. The 1880s were the end of organized Indian resistance.
Black Hills: Sacred Indian Land (01:41)
In the Black Hills, sacred land of the Sioux and Cheyenne, America created an ironic shrine to democracy on Mt. Rushmore.
Making of America: Illustrators, Painters, Photographers, and Journalists (02:58)
By the mid-1800s, photographers and landscape painters had made the West a symbol of America. James Whitmore and the series creator discuss the images that made America's expansion a larger-than-life experience for all the participants.
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