Spring 2018: In this issue

Spring 2018 cover

Vol. 68, No. 1

Art, Agency, and Conservation

A Fresh Look at Albert Bierstadt’s Vision of the West
by Peter H. Hassrick

John Owen’s Worst Trip

A Journey across the Columbia Plateau, 1858
by Sally Thompson

The Piikuni and the U.S. Army’s Piegan Expedition

Competing Narratives of the 1870 Massacre on the Marias River
by Rodger C. Henderson

“Enriched by the Vitalized Pictures”

The Moving Image Archives at the Montana Historical Society
by Kelly Burton


Loomis, Empire of Timber, reviewed by Aaron Goings | Snow, Living with Lead, reviewed by Leif Fredrickson | Dykstra and Manfra, Dodge City and the Birth of the Wild West, reviewed by David Dary | Dearinger, The Filth of Progress, reviewed by Hilton Obenzinger | Botkin, Frank Little and the IWW, reviewed by Jon Axline | Catton, Rainy Lake House, reviewed by Benjamin H. Johnson

On the Cover

One of the United States’ premier landscape artists of the nineteenth century, German-born Albert Bierstadt painted idyllic, romanticized images of the American West in the iconic style of the Hudson River School. Traveling to California, the Great Plains, and the Northwest Coast, Bierstadt witnessed firsthand the impacts of American expansion on these regions—notably, the rapid demise of the bison population and the disruption of Plains Indians’ ways of life. Paintings such as The Rocky Mountains, Lander’s Peak (1863, oil on canvas, 73½" × 120¾", courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Rogers Fund, 1907, 07.123) feature luminous skies and broad, dramatic landscapes, with wildlife or Indians positioned in the foreground. Smaller works often depict the bison, Native hunters, and tribesmen he encountered in the West, casting these subjects in a sympathetic light and suggesting a mournful awareness of the transformation underway throughout the region. Bierstadt’s paintings of the Yosemite Valley and Yellowstone National Park remain among his best-known works.

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