In this intricately interpretive narrative, Lawrence Goodwyn explores the legend of the Texas wildcatter, the twentieth century's version of Thomas Jefferson's "yeoman farmer" and the nineteenth century's plains-riding cowboy. Goodwyn brings into clear relief the people who endeavored to act out the American Dream in the remote corners of "oil country." A driving force in American culture, the "American Dream," always difficult to define, nevertheless possesses one core quality: the thought that all citizens, regardless of the circumstances of their birth, enjoyed the opportunity to make something of themselves through their own efforts.Goodwyn looks at the notion of the American Dream through the eyes of the Texas wildcatter. Surprisingly, even before the outlines of the wildcatter come into focus, other vague but seemingly omnipotent actors occupy center stage: major oil companies. Indeed, the "independents" and the "majors" are found to be abrasively yoked in awkward embrace; what immediately becomes clear in this intimate study is that the presence of one helps in important ways to define the other.