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A per­former at this year’s CCA on the American Frontier, Sour­dough Slim plays his accordion. Sour­dough Slim | Courtesy

Hillsdale College is taking campus to the days of cowboys, accor­dions and banjos, and the Cal­i­fornia gold rush.

The third Center for Con­structive Alter­na­tives seminar for the aca­demic year Sunday to Wednesday will take its audience to the American West. Com­bining pre­sen­ta­tions from his­to­rians, authors, and a musical per­former, the CCA will focus on the Old West, spanning roughly from Lewis and Clark’s journey in 1804 until 1890.

“The American West is important to the char­acter of America as a whole, not only geo­graph­i­cally, but also polit­i­cally, cul­turally, and anthro­po­log­i­cally,” Director of External Affairs Matt Bell said in an email. “The stories and expe­ri­ences of American Indians, explorers, pio­neers, and set­tlers con­tributed greatly to the char­acter of America, and their legacy is part of what makes America great today.”

Part of this societal inher­i­tance from the Old West comes from the culture of the times. Unique to this CCA is a musical per­for­mance by Sour­dough Slim, the “last of the Vaude­ville Cowboys.” He will be per­forming at 8 p.m. on Monday, singing, yodeling, and playing the guitar, har­monica, and accordion.

“I think hearing the music of the time really adds to the expe­rience of the West and gives a good per­spective on where cowboy culture comes from,” Rick Crowder, or “Sour­dough Slim,” said.

In addition, audience members will hear from Peter Has­srick, director emeritus of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West; Nathaniel Philbrick, an expert on the Battle of the Little Bighorn; and more.

“Taken as a whole, we think that the program will give stu­dents, faculty, staff, and vis­itors a good intro­duction to the American West,” Bell said.

Gaining a better under­standing of what life in the West was like in com­parison to how it is por­trayed in films and TV is what sophomore Alexander Green said he is most looking forward to about the CCA.

“The American West is kind of a nos­talgic thing for me,” Green said. “I grew up watching westerns with my family, and I thought learning more about it seemed really inter­esting.”