Define the American West. It all depends on who is doing the talking. Long ago, as the European pioneers were setting out from the East Coast, the West was anything beyond the Appalachians. In that case, perhaps the question should be rephrased such that American West is replaced by frontier. On the other hand, there is little doubt that as the frontier pushed further and further west, to the Mississippi and beyond, as the Great Plains stepped ever higher in elevation, that frontier seemed no longer adequate. Was this the beginning of the American West?