If you happen to be an American with sensibilities shaped by the howl of a wolf, the pastoral tranquility of the Shenandoah Valley, or the spectral grandeur of Second Mesa, this is your story. The protagonist in this story, as stated or unstated in all epic tales that are truly American, is the land itself, that unmapped landscape of paradoxes where boundless optimism and limitless possibility ran up against a bulwark of human appetites, competing desires, differing world views, and intractable conflicts. The 'places' described here are just a few of the many where the citizens of a young nation began to write its story.