Born of Cather's early ties to the prairie and the immigrants who tamed it, O Pioneers! established a new territory in American literature when it was published in 1913.
When Alexandra Bergson, the daughter of Swedish immigrants, takes over the family farm after her father's death, she falls under the spell of the rich, forbidding Nebraska prairie. Strong and resolute, she turns the wild landscape into orderly fields. In her transformation of ordinary Americans into authentic literary characters, Cather discovered her own voice, exploring themes that would reverberate in her later works.