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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS
The novel is set in the 1880's, when the western frontier in America was being shaped. The opening action of The Ox-Bow Incident takes place in Bridger's Wells, Nevada, a little frontier town located in a big valley on the western side of the continental divide. The town was formed to serve the many ranchers in the area, who come into Bridger's Wells to buy supplies, drink at the saloon, play poker and find women. The main street contains a few houses and businesses, including a saloon and a general store. To reach the town, it is necessary to travel down a steep road into the valley. At the end of the road, there are big meadows on both sides, with ranches in the distance. There are also tall mountains around the valley.