The nation was still reeling from the devastation of the Civil War. Reconstruction was well underway across the South. With the war more than a year in the past and Southern states re-entering the Union one by one, Manifest Destiny was under full swing.
President Andrew Johnson was trying to maintain control of Lincoln's Reconstruction policies, but coming up against the Radical Republicans —members of his own party — that pushed the late President's boundaries in rights for freed men much further. The more extreme policies were providing unexpected avenues for carpetbaggers to earn an even more negative reputation.
Now that the Civil War was over, the U. S. Army was finding a more popular front on which to fight...the American West. With a resurgence on westward expansion, access to through the frontier required more protection than ever, with hostilities between white hunters, settlers and entrepreneurs was growing.
As Galvanized Yankees, Bret and Bart Maverick had just spent nearly two years fighting Plains Indians along the Santa Fe Trail. Still young men, they had yet to embark on their legendary careers as wandering gamblers. Since their enlistment in the Confederate Army in 1862, they had grown weary of working and fighting for others, and were determined to return to their home in Little Bend, Texas and establish themselves as a second generation of Maverick ranchers.
After their release from servitude to both the Confederate and Union armies, the Maverick Brothers had little to show for their years of military life. It took them months to work their way home again. Once they returned in August, they found nearly everything they remembered had changed. And were soon to discover that everything else was about to change.
01. Maverick, Trail West to Fury (1958), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
02. Library of Congress (retrieved April 19, 2014)
"American Progress" (1872), John Gast 
In an allegorical representation of Manifest Destiny, Columbia, the contemporary symbol of America, leads civilization westward.
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