Clinton Authorizes Loan To Mexico

On this day in 1995, President Bill Clinton authorizes a $20 billion loan to Mexico. As the value of the peso hit an all-time low, Clinton sidestepped Congress’ rejection of an earlier $50 billion loan proposal and exercised his executive power. Claiming that he was acting in the national interest and that national security was […]

Ronald Reagan Becomes President

Ronald Reagan, former Western movie actor and host of television’s popular “Death Valley Days” is sworn in as the 40th president of the United States. More than any president since the Texas-born Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan’s public image was closely tied to the American West, although he was raised in the solidly Midwestern state of […]

Howard Hughes Dies

Howard Robard Hughes, one of the richest men to emerge from the American West during the 20th century, dies while flying from Acapulco to Houston. Born in Houston, Texas, in 1905, Hughes inherited an estate of nearly a million dollars when his father died in 1923. Hughes’ father also left him the business that had […]

Grizzly Bear Is Classified As A “Threatened” Species

In 1975, the grizzly bear–once the undisputed king of the western wilderness–is given federal protection as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Before the Anglo-Americans began invading their territory, the grizzly bear inhabited most of the country west of the Mississippi from Mexico north to the Arctic Circle. Its only serious competitors for […]

The Inventor Of Western Swing Dies

Bob Wills, one of the most influential musicians in the history of country-western music, is born on a small farm near Kosse, Texas. Born James Robert Wills in 1905, he was trained to be a musician from an early age. His father was a champion fiddle player, and he began giving Wills lessons as soon […]

Wild Bill Hickok Fights First Western Showdown

In what may be the first true western showdown, Wild Bill Hickok shoots Dave Tutt dead in the market square of Springfield, Missouri. Hollywood movies and dime novels notwithstanding, the classic western showdown–also called a walkdown–happened only rarely in the American West. Rather than coolly confronting each other on a dusty street in a deadly […]

The Misfits Released By United Artists

The Misfits, a flawed but moving meditation on the vanishing spirit of western independence, is released by United Artists. The Misfits had all the right ingredients to become a truly great western. The director, John Huston, was one of the most talented in Hollywood. The screenwriter, Arthur Miller, was a celebrated playwright. The three stars—Marilyn […]

First Atomic Detonation At The Nevada Test Site

Forcefully marking the continued importance of the West in the development of nuclear weaponry, the government detonates the first of a series of nuclear bombs at its new Nevada test site. Although much of the West had long lagged behind the rest of the nation in technological and industrial development, the massive World War II […]