The first transcontinental railroads brought fashionable easterners to the American West. In the 1880s and 1890s they traveled in sumptuous palace cars and stayed at luxury hotels. Westerners with an eye on promotion turned to what they took to be their own traditions. After 1900 a wilder West became popular; the Indian was rediscovered, and the cowboy returned to the saddle, if only during fiestas and rodeos. Increasing numbers of tourists headed for natural curiosities such as the sequoias of Yosemite and the geysers of Yellowstone. Then mass-produced automobiles and cheap air, rail, and bus fares changed the face of western tourism forever.
In Search of the Golden West offers splendid old-time photographs and descriptions of nabobs, hucksters, naturalists, dudes, realtors, and motoristsall those who sought the reality and created the myth of the Golden West.