Where does the West start? What is it west of?
I live in a small town that was the first town established in my state. Unlike every previous state, this one was established when pioneers traveled down a river from an existing colony into new lands, as opposed to sailing in from Europe and setting up shop wherever they happened to land. This town was originally established as a trading post with the local Indians, but soon became caught up in an ongoing war between two tribes. One of those tribes raided my town to obtain modern weaponry, and in the process killed or chased off the entire population. The worst of it happened two blocks from my house.
Where do I live? I live in Connecticut, in the heart of New England, halfway between Boston and New York City. This was the wild and wooly frontier in the 1630s. It was west of Boston and west of Providence, the only two English towns of any size in the region, and that meant it was in the West (at the time, that is). The Mohawk Valley in New York, the Piedmont areas of the Carolinas and Virginia, the Miami Valley in Ohio, all places where pioneers settled, Indians fought, and frontier adventure was had. All of them east of the Mississippi, but all with the danger and excitement that we think of when we consider the West.