Any photo collection of the Western United States can show you the territory, but if you want to know the soul of the land, you should look to Maynard Dixon. (external link) His portraits of the desert are particularly evocative and he captured the spirit of native people with equal ease. Among Western artists, Frederic Remington understood horses, Dixon once said, but no other artist quite captured the land like Dixon himself.
Ansel Adams wrote of his friend Dixon, “For him, the West was uncrowded, unlittered, unorganized, and above all, vital and free. The horizons were sufficiently distant to inspire dreams and desires, and provided more than enough space to promise fulfillment.”
I’ll never be able to afford a Dixon original, but I have two books about him. One is Maynard Dixon, Images of the Native American, published in 1981 by the California Academy of Sciences. The other is The Drawings of Maynard Dixon by the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, published in 1985. The former focuses on paintings, the latter on sketches. Many more titles exist.
Road to Nowhere, from Steven Stern Fine Arts
Desert Horizon, from Steven Stern Fine Arts
Nevada Hills, from Wikipedia
Collage of images from a Google Image search