By 1887, the West was changing faster than ever before. Americans were moved by the same impulses that had always moved them, to better their own lives and transform the region in the process. Now their numbers soared, and they brought with them the tools of the new industrial age.
Mining still lured people to the West from every corner of the globe, but it was a full-scale industry now. And the cities it created seemed little different from the grimy factory towns of the east.
Homesteaders and fortune-seekers still arrived, even though much of the best land had already been claimed. And the frenzy over what was left touched off human stampedes, while whole towns opened for business overnight.
But for the first inhabitants of the West, it seemed that a way of life that had lasted for generations was ending. As they saw their remaining land stripped away, some Indians sought refuge in a religion that promised it had all been a bad dream.
"If you stop and think about the kind of prejudice a lot of people suffered, a lot of the destruction that took place as a consequence of war and conquering, then it wasn't such a pretty picture. But I have to say that I think we have to recognize that that's a story of all places, of all nations. No matter where in the world, it is a story of conquering, great sacrifice, great loss, and a lot of times a taking away of things that really belong to someone else. But even knowing all of that, and wishing that part of it were not there, cannot take away the spirit, and the idealism, and the excitement that the people felt that actually did it, and that we still feel when we think about them doing it."
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