In American popular culture and scholarship, American Jewry has been viewed from the perspective of the legendary New York Jewish immigrant experience. But for those Jews who settled in western cities and towns, this epic played only a minor role. To the land between the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean came a steady stream of Jewish men and women. Between 1850 and the 1920s the Jewish population of the western United States grew from a number too small to count to an estimated 300,000 people. This book explores the birth of an American Jewish culture that had only tenuous roots in the East. By examining the life experiences of Jewish men and women who migrated to the West overland and by sea, by covered wagon, ship, and train, who settled in cities and on farms, and who became leaders in the Jewish and larger secular community, this book reveals the contrast between the American image of Jews as eastern urbanites and the reality of the diversity of American Jewish life. The contributors to this volume focus on Jewish settlement in the American West during the era of the Great Migration from the 1840s to the 1920s. Much of the Jewish story in the West is one of shared experience with non-Jews, based on the many needs people have in common. The essential differences were those of belief and issues of conflict born of bias. The West has always been a land filled with a great variety of environments, resources, and people. There was room for Jewish people along with the hordes of others with differing languages, beliefs, and origins. Ava F. Kahn is a visiting scholar at the California Studies Center, University of California, Berkeley. She is co-editor of "California Jews: An Anthology". Other contributors are Hasia R. Diner, William Toll, Ellen Eisenberg, and Moses Rischin.