As shown on the History Channel. As the American nation is born, a vast continent lies to the west of the mountains, waiting to be explored and exploited. Yet this land is not empty--Native American Indians are spread across the land mass, as are Spanish colonists and French explorers. For the pioneers who set out to confront these lands, following trailblazers like Daniel Boone, the conquest of the West is a story of courage and hardship that forges the character of America. Millions of Americans keep heading ever westward, and their journeys by wagon train are fraught with danger, across distances never imagined possible. But the allure of adventure, opportunity, and economic gain is too strong. While some struggle to create new lives on the frontier, others are rewarded with riches on a scale never seen before, as the world rushes in to mine California's gold. America now stretches from "sea to shining sea." And when American pioneers master the waters of the Mississippi basin with a radical invention, the steamboat, a new era opens.