When President Jefferson ordered a mission of exploration westward from St. Louis, Missouri, he inspired the emergence of a nation in a momentous century of migration and settlement. Explorers and hunters, settlers and opportunists, lawless and law-abiding alike joined the spread into the new American frontier. This book examines the fighting and survival skills and weaponry of the people who ventured into this dangerous and mostly unknown country. Frontier communities faced both internal and external threats. Hostile Native Americans engaged the white settlers in a series of battles. The frontiersmen and the Army became seasoned hunters and fighters in the campaign to feed and safeguard their communities. Meanwhile, the frontier also faced robberies and violence from criminals drawn to the riches of the West. Law enforcement became a central feature of the frontier, and those responsible for safeguarding life, liberty, and property came up against a series of notorious criminals.
This book also covers frontier weaponry in detail. During the settling of the West there were great advances in weapons technology, particularly in the development of repeating handguns and rifles, of which the Colt .45 and the Winchester '73 are the most famous. These and many other weapons, including cowboys' carbines; buffalo hunters' big-bore weapons; pistols and revolvers; and even tiny derringers are described in detail in this marvelous book, illustrated with stunning full-color photographs.