Three years after the Kansas-Nebraska Act embroiled the plains states in a struggle that presaged the war to come, the irrepressible Erastus Beadle left his home in Buffalo, New York, and set out for the territories to see about some land. Specifically, Beadle had a stake in the Saratoga Company, just north of Omaha, which proposed to build a community of dwellings for the prospective settlers arriving by the boatload. In diary pages and letters home, Beadle noted his impressions-the details, anecdotes, and characters that filled his days-and in doing so, left a remarkable record of a bygone way of life in the American West.Beginning with his three-month journey westward, Beadle takes us from the hardships and amusements of travel on the "Big Muddy" to the magnificent sight of a prairie fire at night, from the political propaganda abroad in the "slavery stronghold" of Kansas to the realities of doing business on the Nebraska frontier. Whether describing roads or water routes, mishaps or accommodations, finances, politics, or daily life, Beadle writes with an immediacy and character that make his diary as entertaining as it is informative-a living, intimate chapter of American history.Erastus F. Beadle was born in New York State in 1821. In 1857 he went west to Omaha, where he failed to make his fortune. In 1858 he returned to New York, where he prospered as senior partner of Beadle and Adams, publisher of the popular Beadle's Dime Novels.Ronald C. Naugle is Huge-Kinne Professor of History at Nebraska Wesleyan University. He is coeditor of Nebraska Quilts and Quiltmakers (Nebraska 1991) and coauthor of History of Nebraska (Nebraska 1997).Beadle, Erastus F. is the author of 'Ham, Eggs, and Corn Cake A Nebraska Territory Diary' with ISBN 9780803261877 and ISBN 080326187X.