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The Wild West

Erastus Beadle Publishing

Life In The Early Days
Economic and Social Conditions
Clamity Jane
Billy The Kid
Erastus Beadle Publishing
Charles M. Russel and Frederic Remington

Spread Of Popular Conception of Western "Heroes"


Popular conceptions of the Wild West were shaped primarily by the Western Dime novels which Erastus Beadle began publishing in 1860. These dime novels had brightly coloured and often illustrated covers. New stories appeared at the rate of one a week, and by 1865, American readers had spent $50 000 in dimes while buying close to 5,000,000 "dime novels".
However, the West only became a popular setting for the dime novel in the  1880's. This is when actual western figures like Kit Carson, Buffalo Bill and Calamity Jane started starring in numerous "adventures" which were devoured by readers.

These books were so popular because they contained stories of the West, and the West possesed symbolic and mythical qualities, seeming to be the real, genuine America that every American dreamed their country was.
The West was romantisized to emphasize the qualities Americans admired most: manliness, individualism, and self-reliance.