Since 1893, Frederick Jackson Turner's frontier thesis -- "the existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession, and the advance of American settlement westward" -- has influenced scholars seeking to understand the nature of the West. The imperialistic, optimistic, and positive Turner has been challenged in recent years, however, by a group of young scholars dubbed the "New West" historians, who perceive the settlement of the West as a negative experience ("conquest" is the key word). They contend the Old West historians are patently jingoistic and neglectful of minorities, ethnics, and the environment. In Old West/New West, six distinguished historians -- Carl Abbott, Patricia Nelson Limerick, Gerald Nash, Malcolm Rohrbough, Gerald Thompson, and Donald Worster -- debate the approaches of each school of thought when studying the West. Editor Gene M. Gressley provides an introduction setting the context for the Old West/New West battleground.