Ever since the days of the 49ers and George Armstrong Custer, the Old West has been America's most potent source of legend. But it is sometimes hard to separate fact from fiction. Did you know, for example, that Annie Oakley was a talented marksman who shot an estimated 40,000 rounds per year while practicing and performing for Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show in the late l800s? Or that many interpreters believe that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is not just a fairy tale, but also a Populist allegory?These are just two of the folk legends dissected and examined in this veritable cultural geography. The volume covers everything from billionaire Howard Hughes and composer Aaron Copeland to Aztlan (the legendary first city of the Aztecs) and Area 51, the top-secret U.S. Air Force base at Groom Lake, Nevada, that has fascinated UFO and conspiracy buffs.