The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 81, July 1977 - April, 1978

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

an interest in Indian life into a larger concern for the pioneer experi-
ence and the changing nature of American society. He kept careful
notes of these visits, both for his own later use and as the raw material
of several stories he published in national magazines at the time. He
wrote one novel with an Indian setting, The Captain of the Gray-Horse
Troop (1902). The editors of this volume have brought much of this
material together, with an excellent introductory essay, connecting com-
ment, and identifying footnotes.
The book deals with Indians as varied as those on the Crow reserva-
tion in Montana, the Navajo reservation in Arizona and the Cheyenne
Arapahoe reservation in Oklahoma. The vignettes of particular Indian
leaders and of daily life in pueblo, town, and teepee have the quality
of good snapshots and are valuable historical sources. Garland was ambi-
valent about the white pioneer experience, which he lived through in
the Dakotas and elsewhere as a youth. In some ways he carried that
feeling over to his view of the Indian as a sort of unwilling pioneer fac-
ing white civilization. He first saw the Indian as a natural and deter-
mined product of his environment, no more "savage" than animals, and
he disliked the tendency to dismiss Indian life as a stage of pre-white
civilization. He also shared the romantic view of the Indian as a free
agent. He was unlike most whites in valuing the Indian experience and
in believing that the tribes had something to say about living in gen-
eral. In the end, he reluctantly bowed to assimilation, believing as the
editors note that the "Indian was a human being to whom the white
man was obligated to make his assimilation into Anglo-dominated cul-
ture as painless as possible" (p. 31). He hoped to retain the quality and
flavor of Indian life via crafts, ceremonies, and spiritual beliefs.
This book contains little that is startling, but its great value is the
quality of human life the articles purvey. Garland was a minor figure in
American letters, but he was a shrewd observor of humanity's often
conflicting desires and ambitions. The editors of the work have served
him and the subject well.
University of Oklahoma H. WAYNE MORGAN
America's Frontier Culture: Three Essays. By Ray A. Billington. (Col-
lege Station: Texas AScM University Press, 1977- Pp. 97. Introduc-
tion. $5.)
Several generations ago, historian Frederick Jackson Turner directed
attention to the American frontier experience and suggested that it


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 81, July 1977 - April, 1978. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed November 30, 2015.