Exploration of the West began in the nineteenth century at the Missouri River. On its banks pioneers understood
themselves to be at the edge of a sublime landscape, one that they believed would be redemptive. My own ancestors, as it
happens, settled along the river, and my grandfather made enthusiastic trips onto the Dakota prairies to make panoramic
photographs. For these reasons, and because I had lost my way in the suburbs, I decided to try to rediscover some of the
land forms that had impressed our forebears. Was there remaining in the geography a strength that might help sustain us
as it had them?