Reviewers hailed the original edition of T.A. Larson’s History of Wyoming (Winner of an Award of Merit of the American Association for State and Local History) as “a refreshing new look at the most western of the Western States,” “an excellent model of what a state history should be.” In that first comprehensive, critical history of Wyoming, the author was not concerned to recapitulate the familiar tales of fast guns and renegades associated with the pre-territorial years; his focus was on the men, women, and events which have shaped the state’s history since 18965, when the name Wyoming was first applied to the area.
Although dramatic incidents and changes occurred in Wyoming from time to time during its territorial and statehood years into the 1960’s, the state remained preeminently a cattlemen’s domain and tourist mecca. Then the world energy crisis greatly enhanced the value of these state’s vast reserves of oil, gas, uranium, and coal. Unprecedented growth resulted (the state was losing population in 1965, when the first edition of this book was published), bringing expanded payrolls and wealth on the one hand and serious problems on the other as developers and environmentalists competed for control of Wyoming’s future.
Incorporating new chapters on the state’s abrupt turnaround from “the lonesome land” to an important national center of energy development, this edition continues to emphasize political, economic, and social history and to offer new interpretations and information. Examining the great changes of the 1970’s, Larson concludes that trade-offs and compromises are inevitable, major decisions lie ahead, and it’s an exciting and challenging era for Wyoming citizens.