Images for Episode 7: From Camelot to Abilene

Episode 7: From Camelot to Abilene

Stream or download it for free on iTunes, Stitcher, or Podomatic.

In a country as big and diverse as America, stories are crucially important to our sense of common identity. But where do those stories come from, and who creates them? In this episode, we examine the work of writer Owen Wister, who gave Americans one of the touchstones of our common culture: the cowboy. But beneath the familiar surface of this legendary figure lies a complex web of dark and unexpected ideas. By exploring “The Evolution of the Cow-Puncher,” an essay written at the height of the volatile Gilded Age, we gain insight into the origins of the cowboy — and how myth can overpower truth.

Music: “Fratres (for violin and piano)” by Arvo Part, from the album Tabula Rasa (ECM Records, 1984).



Poultney Bigelow, “Frederic Remington; with Extracts from Unpublished Letters”, The Quarterly Journal of the New York State Historical Association 10, no. 1 (January, 1929): 45-52.

John Cobbs, Owen Wister (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1984).

Bruce Glasrud and Michael Searles, eds, Black Cowboys in the American West: On the Range, On the Stage, Behind the Badge (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2016)

David McCullough, “The Man,” in Frederic Remington: The Masterworks, eds. Michael Edward Shapiro and Peter H. Hassrick (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc, 1988).

Heather Cox Richardson, West from Appomattox: The Reconstruction of America after the Civil War (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007).

Alan Trachtenberg, The Incorporation of America: Culture & Society in the Gilded Age (New York: Harper Collins, 1982).

Ben Vorpahl, My Dear Wister: The Frederic Remington – Owen Wister Letteres (Palo Alto: American West Publishing Company, 1972).

G. Edward White, The Eastern Establishment and the Western Experience: The West of Frederic Remington, Theodore Roosevelt, and Owen Wister (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968).

Owen Wister, The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains (New York: Macmillan & Co, 1902).

—————— “The Evolution of the Cow-Puncher,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine 91, no. 544 (September, 1895): 602-616.

Dark Myths Show of the Month: A New Winter

In the mood for an unnerving, fast-paced, Serial-esque show set in the UK? A New Winter, the Dark Myths show of the month for June, might just be what you’re looking for.  If you haven’t visited the Dark Myths page in a while, pay us a visit — we’ve added a number of fantastic shows over the last few months.

In the words of the creator:

“It’s the winter of 2000 in a small village in the UK and a family have been brutally murdered in suspicious circumstances. The only evidence is one set of footprints in the snow leading to the murder scene – but nothing leaving it. This is a man’s first hand account of what happened in this brutal winter where over 25 people were murdered or had disappeared.”


Dark Myths Show of the Month (May 2017): Bohemican

Pete Collman’s Bohemican is a podcast about something I know almost nothing about: Czech history. I say “almost nothing” because I’ve listened to a few of his fascinating and well-delivered episodes and now I want to learn more! Bohemican covers a huge array of Czech topics across several centuries, including food, culture, and history ranging from medieval castles to Czech involvement in the World Wars. Highly recommended. You can Czech it out (sorry) at




Dark Myths Show of the Month: Rumor Flies

Been a while since we did one of these! While you’re waiting for the next episode, be sure to give these guys a listen. Rumor Flies is a very entertaining conversational show that tackles all kinds of topics from history to urban legends. The hosts have phenomenal rapport and I learn something new every episode. Check it out at or at

rumor flies

The Hiatus Continues

Dear listeners,

As the semester at grad school becomes ever more crowded, I realize that there’s no way I can realistically produce another episode before school ends in late April. I’m sorry to tell those of you who have been anticipating another episode that you’ll have to wait for a while longer, but for the sake of my own sanity, that’s the way it has to be for the next couple of months before I can start producing again. In the meantime, I’ll be more active on Twitter and will be posting the occasional blog entry on WordPress.

Thanks for your patience. Inward Empire will return as soon as possible.

All the best,



Episode 6: 1877: The Great Strike and the Red Specter of the Commune (Part Two)

Stream or download it for free on iTunes, Stitcher, or Podomatic.

When a railroad employee walks off the job in Baltimore, it triggers a violent chain of events that engulfs the industrialized North. From Pittsburgh to San Francisco, city after city erupts in rioting and street battles as railroad men, factory workers, and the unemployed take on militias, paramilitary groups, and the US Army in a spontaneous revolt against the new industrial order. Railyards burn and urban neighborhoods become battlegrounds. Pundits, politicians, corporate leaders, socialists, and union leaders hail the birth of an exterminationist class war. And through the smoke, the dawn of a new era can be glimpsed…

Music: “Fratres (for violin and piano)” by Arvo Part, from the album Tabula Rasa (ECM Records, 1984).




Michael Bellesiles, 1877: America’s Year of Living Violently. New York: The New Press, 2010.

Jeremy Brecher, Strike! Revised, Expanded, and Updated Edition. Oakland: PM Press, 2014.

Robert Bruce, 1877: Year of Violence. Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1959.

Philip Foner, The Great Labor Uprising of 1877. New York: Pathfinder Press, 1977.

Nell Irvin Painter, Standing at Armageddon: A Grassroots History of the Progressive Era. New York: Norton, 1987.

Heather Cox Richardson, West from Appomattox: The Reconstruction of America after the Civil War. New Haven & London, CT: Yale University Press, 2007.

Richard Slotkin, The Fatal Environment: The Myth of the Frontier in the Age of Industrialization, 1800-1890. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1985.

Alan Trachtenberg, The Incorporation of America: Culture & Society in the Gilded Age. New York: Hill & Wang, 1982.


Joseph Dacus, Annals of the Great Strike. Chicago: L.T. Palmer & Co, 1877.

Rutherford B Hayes, The Diary and Letters of Rutherford B. Hayes, Nineteenth President of the United States, edited by Charles Richard Williams.Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State Archeological and Historical Society 1922

Allan Pinkerton, Strikers, Communists, Tramps, and Detectives. New York: GW Carleton, 1878.