Robert Hine and John Faragher, The American West: A New Interpretive History (Yale University Press, 2000).

Patricia N. Limerick, The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West (Norton, 1987).

Geoffrey C. Ward, The West: An Illustrated History (1996; reprint, Back Bay Books, 2003).

The Pioneer Experience

Kenneth L. Holmes, ed. Covered Wagon Women: Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails, 1840-1849 (University of Nebraska Press, 1995).

Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith, Women in Waiting in the Westward Movement: Life on the Home Frontier (University of Oklahoma Press, 1994).

Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith, Frontier Children (University of Oklahoma Press, 1999).

The Prairie Traveler: The 1859 Handbook for Westbound Pioneers, by Randolph B. Marcy (Harper and Bros., 1861).

The Gold Rush

H.W. Brands, The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream (Doubleday, 2002).

J.S. Holliday, The World Rushed In: The California Gold Rush Experience (Simon and Schuster, 1981).

Native American History

Dee Brown, Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West (Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, 1971).

Alvin M. Josephy, Jr., 500 Nations: An Illustrated History of North American Indians (Knopf, 1994).

Margaret L. Archuleta, et al., eds., Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Experiences, 1879-2000 (Heard Museum [distributed by University of New Mexico Press], 2000).

Children’s Fiction

Jewel H. Grutman, The Ledgerbook of Thomas Blue Eagle (1994; reprint, Lickle Publishing, 2005).
This beautiful book is about the Carlisle Indian School.

Mary Cobb, The Quilt-Block History of Pioneer Days, with Projects Kids Can Make (Millbrook Press, 1995).
Authentic, with lots of great ideas.

Marlene Carvell, Sweetgrass Basket (Dutton Juvenile, 2005).
A novel told in two voices about the boarding school experiences of two Mohawk sisters at the Carlisle Indian School.

Yin, Coolies (Puffin, reprint 1993).
This is an evocative picture book about the experience of Chinese workers in the West and the building of the railroads.