You need to have JavaScript enabled to view this video clip.


A settler explains how the soil in the new land he has settled is of excellent quality. We get an insight into how early settlers built homes from earth blocks. We also see how settlers saw the Plains initially as a desert but how they came to be seen as potential farmland as time and technology moved on, with terrible consequences for the Native Americans. The concept of Manifest destiny is introduced in a meaningful context, and the significance of the railroad (economic, political and psychological), is set up.
This clip is from:
First broadcast:
29 January 2004

Classroom Ideas

Students could write an article for a newspaper back in New York explaining how the railways are changing America. Discuss the impact of the railways and the arrival of settlers to the Plains Indians, considering the direct and indirect actions that brought an end to their traditional way of life. Contrast the Native Americans’ views of the land with imported ideas of land ownership. The 1889 Land Run provides a stark example of different values.
While the conquest of the American West is routinely portrayed as involving white settlers, the coming of the railways introduced other groups of people. The class may like to consider the impact of workers from China and elsewhere on the west.

This clip also features in: