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Frontier Doctor

Observations on Central Oregon and the Changing West

Urling C. Coe

Introduction by Robert Bunting.

Northwest Reprints

5 × 8 inches. 288 pages.

1996. ISBN 978-0-87071-520-4. .

Out of stock indefinitely.

In January 1905 Urling C. Coe moved to the new town of Bend, Oregon, to become the first licensed doctor in what he called "the heart of the last pioneer stock country of the West."

Frontier Doctor, Coe's autobiographical account of his thirteen-year residency, details the extraordinary experiences of a young physician in frontier Oregon, from childbirthing to epidemics, broken bones to unwanted pregnancies. Coe's colorful, first-hand stories about treating patients--cowboys, rustlers, ranch wives, Indians, prostitutes, homesteaders, and town boosters--offer a vivid social history of town and ranch life on the Oregon high desert. They also document the development of a Western boomtown: with the arrival of the railroad in 1911, the wide-open settlement known as Farewell Bend was transformed into an important center of industry, commerce, and culture.

In a new introduction Robert Bunting shows how Coe's informed opinions and observations illustrate themes prevalent in our own understanding of western history: the central role of women in the western experience, the significance of the urban West, the boom and bust nature of resource-dependent communities, concern for conservation, and Westerners' ambivalent relationship with the federal government. Northwest readers will find Coe's comments about the management of eastside forests especially relevant.

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