west in the gilded ages us history since reconstruction

In your analysis, how important was the West for the development of American economy and culture in the late-1800s? What was its relationship with the Gilded Age of urbanization, industrialization, and growth of big business? Did it form an essential part of the Gilded Age/Age of Capital economy, or was it more of a frontier, with weak links to the developments back East? It’s on a discussion topic !