The mainline Protestant churches played a vital role in the settlement of the West. Yet historians have, for the most part, bypassed this theme. This account recreates the unique religious and cultural mix that sets this region apart from the rest of the nation. From itinerant circuit riders to powerful urban bishops, western clergy were continually involved in the maturation of their communities. Their duties on the frontier extended far beyond delivering Sunday sermons; they also served as librarians, counselors, social workers, educators, booksellers, peacekeepers, and general purveyors of culture. Weaving together the varied experiences of men and women from the five major Protestant denominations-Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregational, and Episcopal-the author discusses their responses to life on the frontier: the violence, the tumultuous growth of the cities, the isolation of farm life, and the widespread hunger, especially among women, for "refinement."