History, Department of


Date of this Version



Western Historical Quarterly, Vol. 8, No. 4 (Oct., 1977), pp. 405-430


Published by Utah State University on behalf of Western History Association. Used by permission.


The importance of foreign-born immigrants and their children for the settlement of the Great Plains has been largely overlooked by historians of the frontier and of the trans-Mississippi West. While an extensive literature exists treating Indian history and Indian-white relationships, white populations have usually been treated as homogeneous. In such a classic study as Walter Prescott Webb's The Great Plains, ethnic groups of European origin are scarcely mentioned. More recent interpretations of the region note differences between Indians, Chicanos, Orientals, and blacks, but fail to distinguish European ethnic groups, such as Norwegians, Germans, and Czechs from each other or from the native-born populations.1