The Wild West in American history is often characterized by the western expansion of settlers to develop land west of the Mississippi River. The timeline of the Wild West, sometimes referred to as the Old West, generally begins around the time of the Louisiana Purchase (in 1803) and concludes in 1912, when the last mainland states joined the Union. But even though the expansion officially stopped, it doesn't mean the West was truly settled by then. Western expansion certainly didn't come without some controversy. You don't have to look far to find tragic stories of death and bloodshed on the frontier. When it wasn't warring groups shooting at one another, it was frontiersmen and women facing long odds to survive the long journey. Take your own journey of young America in these incredible Wild West photos from more than a century ago. If you love history, you're not going to want to miss these.