Life on the American frontier of the 1800s is the stuff of American myth and legend. It was here in the wide-open spaces of the West that the rugged individualism of the American character was refined: in the strong but silent cowboy, the saloon girl with a heart of gold, and the sod-busting pioneer. Faced with the incredible challenges of taming a wilderness, wresting the territory from the Native peoples, and dealing with the hardships of pioneer life, Americans were offered one of the richest opportunities in the history of human kind—the agricultural and mineral resources of a new land. The settling of this land is the story of America, a story of violence, wasted resources, and genocide, as well as heroism, freedom, and incredible opportunity. The Wild West of the 1800s remains for Americans a land of hopes and dreams.