The Wild West PowerPoint & Google Slides | American History



The Wild West PowerPoint (or Google Slides) presentation is a great resource for American history teachers. It covers the development of the American frontier after the American Civil War. It details how the California Gold Rush (and other gold rushes) brought droves of settlers to the West.

It also details how the railroads and ranches changed the economy of the West (and the whole United States). There is a lot of emphasis in this PPT on different Native American cultures and the wars that took place between the United States and different tribes.

To make this PowerPoint lesson more interactive, students are provided with questions they need to answer while you present the material.

There is also one slide with a picture of Tom Torlino of the Navajo Nation before and after attending a boarding school. The slide includes historical thinking questions. The teacher can put students in pairs to answer the question.

In addition to the picture analysis question, a primary source by Chief Joseph is also included. Students read the primary source, then answer the questions.

This is a useful presentation you can use to present to your class or give to them to study on their own (students could read the slides and the notes). The design is professional and with the right amount of words on each slide (i.e. NO death by PowerPoint). The content is very detailed in the notes, so if you are busy, you could simply open the slides in front of the class and read the notes (it is suggested you review the slides before class though).

It also includes a teacher guide sheet that you can print and use when presenting. The information in the guide sheet and PPT notes include additional information that is not on the slides (in other words, it will make you look smart!). This way, the teacher can add interesting little comments or data to each slide. You can either print the whole guide sheet, or just the pages you need help with.

You can make changes to the PPT, if you deem it necessary. This presentation can be used in Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Slides (if you want to use Google Slides, just click the link which is found in the first slide).

Content in PPT includes:

  • Westward migration
  • Gold Rushes (California Gold Rush, Colorado Gold Rush, Clearwater Gold Rush, and Black Hills Gold Rush)
  • The decrease in the population of bison
  • Mormon migrating to the West
  • Homestead Act
  • Dakota War
  • Sand Creek Massacre
  • Indian Peace Commission
  • Native American boarding schools
  • Red River War
  • Battle of Little Bighorn
  • Crazy Horse Memorial
  • Long Walk of the Navajo
  • Buffalo Soldiers
  • Railroads
  • Labor on the railroads
  • World’s Columbian Exposition (Chicago World’s Fair)
  • Cattle Drive
  • Dawes Act
  • Ghost Dance
  • Battle of Wounded Knee
  • History of rodeos in the West
  • Buffalo Bill’s Wild West
  • Fronter Thesis
  • and more!

This presentations touches on all of the above topics and adds more detail. Students will understand the Old West shaped the future of the United States.

Files in this download include:

  • Editable PowerPoint (Google Slides option available)
  • Primary Source PDF (Google Drive option available)
  • Student Study Guide Notes (print for students or load to LMS)
  • Teacher Guide PDF (print one copy for you)

This PPT works with traditional American history textbooks.

How to use this presentation:

  • Present the PowerPoint (or Google Slides) in the classroom; one slide includes an interactive activity for students to complete
  • Present the Google Slides via Zoom (if distance learning)
  • Present and discuss – while presenting, get students involved and create discussion questions that get students thinking like a historian and comparing historical events to current events
  • Print presentation with notes and let students read the slides (and notes)
  • Alternatively: have students view the slides, and they present the material in groups

Additional information

Grade Level

8th, 9th, 10th

Resource Types

Full Units, Homeschool, PowerPoints, Google Slides


Native Americans


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