First published in 1913, O Pioneers! was hailed as by the critics as "a totally new kind of story," with characters "new in American fiction" and a heroine who was "a new and interesting type." Cather's heroine, Alexandra Bergson, would, in fact, become the model for the pioneer women of later literature. Spirited, courageous, and independent, the daughter of Swedish immigrants, Alexandra assumes responsibility for the family farmand her family—upon death of her father. Her devotion to the harsh, forbidding prairie transforms her land and her life.