||At the end of the nineteenth century, many literary narratives of the American West repeated historical assumptions and genre tropes while material objects from the West indexed commodity flows and a national fetish for ethnography. Writers like John Wesley Powell, Elizabeth Bacon Custer, Owen Wister, and Mary Austin turned from plots and props to techniques of material assemblage to depict the diverse relations and dynamic tensions of the West. These writers engage in a practice of salvage, in which they separate materials from prior contexts of production or sentiment and combine them in new associations. Their salvage work appears as assemblages-scrapbooks, taxidermy animals, clothes, and weavings-and extends the methods and materials of these assemblages to the structures of their texts. Each work's composition foregrounds the incongruities of its elements, and each text becomes a borderland, or selvage, in which conflicts remain unresolved. The assemblages expose readers to "affective regionality," the feelings of "contingency, precarity, vulnerability," that occur between geographic places and rhetorical explanations. Each text, then, presents the writer's experience of "westness," of the fantastic and real, speculated and remembered, vast and intimate American West.