This is American history at its most basic. Believing that students get "lost in a swamp of factual information", the Colliers survey the essential concepts of settling the Great Plains, without a great deal of detail. For example, in describing the sequence of events that led to the Grattan Massacre, there is no mention of date, location, or names of the people involved. Without prior knowledge, listeners would not know it was the Grattan Massacre. Topics addressed include Native American history prior to contact with whites and conflicts with settlers and the military, ranching and cowboys, railroads, and reform movements that sought to help farmers and regulate big business. While the focus of this book is on political and institutional history, it does mention the contributions of women and minorities. References to other books in the series that further explain a topic are scattered throughout the text.