The magnificent valley of Jackson Hole at the base of the soaring Teton Range has long been a stage on which a remarkable series of events has been acted out by an equally remarkable cast of characters. This is that story, told with a verve and excitement which brings the past alive.
In these pages, the reader will witness the dramatic creation of the Tetons; the arrival of the first humans, bands of fur-clad Early Hunters who ventured into the valley some 10,000 years ago; the coming and going of the later Indian tribes; and the nearly incredible journey of John Colter, who back in 1807 is said to have been the first white man to have found his way through the wilderness and into Jackson Hole.
Here, too, the reader will meet the boisterous mountain men, trappers such as Jim Bridger and the former slave, Jim Beckwourth, who roamed the Rockies when St. Louis was still a frontier village; a little Mormon boy who ran away from home and lived with the Indians before becoming a Pony Express rider; a most unusual Englishman who describes a terrible tragedy that befell his Indian wife and half-breed children; a glory-seeking lieutenant who led six cavalrymen on a foolhardy expedition that almost cost them their lives; and a nineteenth-century president of the United States who took a pack trip through Jackson Hole, allegedly leaving a trail of empty bottles behind.
And there is more, much more--the story of the pioneers, those hardy few who dared to settle in this high and inhospitable land; the story of outlaws, a shoot-out, vigilance committees and an Indian "massacre" that embarrassed the New York Times; the story of the deliverance of the world's largest elk herd from the many perils that threatened it with extinction; and, finally, the story of the long and angry controversy over the preservation of the Tetons and Jackson Hole as a national park, a struggle called "one of the most remarkable conservation fights of the twentieth century."
All these and still other episodes in the long and colorful cavalcade of Jackson Hole are woven together to form a work of Western Americana rich in anecdotes and portraits of delightfully eccentric characters.
Best Backpacking Trips in Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado provides everything you need to know to organize and execute the best backpacking trips in the Mountain West. Mike White and Douglas Lorain, who have walked every mile of the trails described inside, take readers and hikers into some of the wildest and most scenic backcountry landscapes in the nation and help them design the ultimate trip.
Focusing on one-week excursions, the book offers details on all the aspects of trip planning—trail narratives, technical data, maps, gear, food, information on regulations and permits, and more. But it is more than a basic guidebook. Trip information is enriched by valuable and interesting sidebars on history and ecology that will increase appreciation for these natural areas and the people who were instrumental in their discovery or protection.
In Best Backpacking Trips in Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado, White and Lorain pass on their knowledge of quality hikes, planning and preparation, and the unique satisfaction of multi-day backpacking. This guide, put into practice, will result in the trip of a lifetime.
In this unconventional memoir, Kevin Holdsworth vividly portrays life in remote, unpredictable country and ruminates on the guts - or foolishness - it takes to put down roots and raise a family in a merciless environment.
Growing up in Utah, Holdsworth couldn't wait to move away. Once ensconced on the East Coast, however, he found himself writing westerns and dreaming of the mountains he'd skied and climbed. Fed up with city life, he moved to a small Wyoming town.
In Big Wonderful, he writes of a mountaineering companion's death, the difficult birth of his son, and his father's terminal illness - encounters with mortality that sharpened his ideas about risk, care, and commitment. He puts a new spin on mountaineering literature, telling wild tales from his reunion with the mountains but also relating the surprising willpower it took to turn back from risks he would have taken before he became a father. He found he needed courage to protect and engage deeply with his family, his community, and the wild places he loves.
Holdsworth's essays and poems are rich with anecdotes, characters, and vivid images. Readers will feel as if they themselves watched a bear destroy an entire expedition's food, walked with his great-great-grandmother along the icy Mormon Trail, and tried to plant a garden in Wyoming's infamous wind.
Readers who love the outdoors will enjoy this funny and touching take on settling down and adventuring in the West's most isolated country.
In her luminous inquiry into the intricate connections among work, place, and people, Frieda Knobloch explores the lives of two Rocky Mountain botanists, Aven Nelson (1859-1952) and Ruth Ashton Nelson (1896-1987). Aven was a professor of botany at the University of Wyoming for many years; Ruth compiled field guides to Rocky Mountain plants and wrote articles on botany for magazines. The two met and married when Aven was in his seventies and Ruth was in her mid thirties, and they developed a symbiotic partnership that joined work and play, learning and companionship. Into this relatively straightforward reconstruction of two lives Knobloch blends the history of her own life as a scholar and an amateur naturalist, her own journal entries, and her letters written to Ruth to create a transformative environmental auto/biography.
This account of the second Powell expedition is a reprint of the 1962 edition and includes all 50 illustrations and a substantial foreword by William H. Geotzmann.
"One of the seminal books on western history . . . The author was only 17 when he began the expedition, and he honestly hero-worshipped Powell all his life. Yet this bright, sharp account is so detailed and truthful that the reader can see through his enthusiasm to discover Powell's mean spirit and sometimes reckless nature. It's also a great river-running book." —Deseret News
"It was decidedly worth writing, this detailed record: a more absorbing, and at times stirring, story of adventure has not seen the light in a long time, and the author's unadorned, yet vivid, style enables the reader to share all the emotions of the explorers:" —The Nation
"In these later years (1909) when amateur travel in the west is frequent, a detailed record of this kind will be of value to seekers after adventure." —Science
Governor Lady is the fascinating story of one of the most famous political women of her generation. Nellie Tayloe Ross was elected governor of Wyoming in 1924—just four years after American women won the vote—and she went on to be nominated for U.S. vice president in 1928, named vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee the same year, and appointed the first female director of the Mint in 1932. Ross launched her career when her husband, William Bradford Ross, the preceding governor, died, leaving her widowed with four sons and no means of supporting them. She was an ironic choice to be such a pioneer in women’s rights, since she claimed her entire life that she had no interest in feminism. Nevertheless, she believed in equal opportunity and advancement in merit irrespective of gender—core feminist values. The dichotomy between Ross’s career and life choices, and her stated priorities of wife and mother, is a critical contradiction, making her an intriguing woman.
Exhaustively researched and powerfully written, Governor Lady chronicles the challenges and barriers that a woman with no job experience, higher education, or training faced on the way to becoming a confident and effective public administrator. In addition to the discrimination and resentment she faced from some of her male associates, she also aroused the enmity of Eleanor Roosevelt, whom she displaced at the DNC.
Born exactly one hundred years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Ross lived to celebrate the nation’s bicentennial, so her long and remarkable life precisely spanned the second U.S. century. She was reared in the Victorian era, when upper- and middle-class women were expected to be domestic, decorative, and submissive, but she died as the women’s movement was creating a multitude of opportunities for young women of the 1970s. Nellie’s story will be of great interest to anyone curious about women’s history and biography. The contemporary American career woman will especially identify with Ross’s struggle to balance her career, family, and active personal life.
The Grand Teton Reader
Robert W. Righter University of Utah Press, 2021 Library of Congress F767.T3G823 2021 | Dewey Decimal 978.755
Grand Teton National Park draws more than three million visitors annually in search of wildlife, outdoor adventure, solitude, and inspiration. This collection of writings showcases the park’s natural and human histories through stories of drama and beauty, tragedy and triumph.
Editor Robert Righter has selected thirty-five contributors whose work takes readers from the Tetons’ geological origins to the time of Euro-American encroachment and the park’s politically tumultuous creation. Selections range from Laine Thom’s Shoshone legend of the Snake River and Owen Wister’s essay “Great God! I’ve Just Killed a Bear,” to Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson’s humorous yet fearful account of crossing the Snake River, and William Owen’s first attempt to climb the Grand Teton. Conservationists, naturalists, and environmentalists are also represented: Terry Tempest Williams chronicles her multiyear encounter with her “Range of Memory,” and Olaus and Mardy Murie recount the difficulties of “park-making” in an often-hostile human environment.
Anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the park’s wild beauty and controversial past will want to read these stories by people who lived it.
The two defining moments of Western coalfield labor relations have been massacres: Wyoming's Rock Springs Massacre of 1885 and Colorado's Ludlow Massacre of 1914. But it wasn't just the company guns that were responsible for the deaths of 28 Chinese coal miners and 13 women and children. It was the result of racial tensions and the economics of the coal industry itself.
In Industrializing the Rockies, David A. Wolff places these deadly conflicts and strikes in the context of the Western coal industry from its inception in 1868 to the age of maturity in the early twentieth century. The result is the first book-length study of the emergence of coalfield labor relations and a general overview of the role of coal mining in the American West.
Wolff examines the coal companies and the owners' initial motivations for investment and how these motivations changed over time. He documents the move from speculation to stability in the commodities market, and how this was reflected in the development of companies and company towns.
Industrializing the Rockies also examines the workers and their workplaces: how the miners and laborers struggled to maintain mining as a craft and how the workforce changed, ethnically and racially, eventually leading to the emergence of a strong national union. Wolff shines light on the business of coal mining detailing the market and economic forces that influenced companies and deeply affected the lives of the workers.
Winner of the 2018 Distinguished Book Award from the Western Social Science Association
Though mining is an infamously masculine industry, women make up 20 percent of all production crews in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin—the largest coal-producing region in the United States. How do these women fit into a working culture supposedly hostile to females? This is what anthropologist Jessica Smith Rolston, herself a onetime mine worker and the daughter of a miner, set out to discover. Her answers, based on years of participant-observation in four mines and extensive interviews with miners, managers, engineers, and the families of mine employees, offer a rich and surprising view of the working “families” that miners construct. In this picture, gender roles are not nearly as straightforward—or as straitened—as stereotypes suggest.
Gender is far from the primary concern of coworkers in crews. Far more important, Rolston finds, is protecting the safety of the entire crew and finding a way to treat each other well despite the stresses of their jobs. These miners share the burden of rotating shift work—continually switching between twelve-hour day and night shifts—which deprives them of the daily rhythms of a typical home, from morning breakfasts to bedtime stories. Rolston identifies the mine workers’ response to these shared challenges as a new sort of constructed kinship that both challenges and reproduces gender roles in their everyday working and family lives.
Crews’ expectations for coworkers to treat one another like family and to adopt an “agricultural” work ethic tend to minimize gender differences. And yet, these differences remain tenacious in the equation of masculinity with technical expertise, and of femininity with household responsibilities. For Rolston, such lingering areas of inequality highlight the importance of structural constraints that flout a common impulse among men and women to neutralize the significance of gender, at home and in the workplace.
At a time when the Appalachian region continues to dominate discussion of mining culture, this book provides a very different and unexpected view—of how miners live and work together, and of how their lives and work reconfigure ideas of gender and kinship.
In 1903 the Cody Road opened, leading travelers from Cody, Wyoming, to Yellowstone National Park. Cheyenne photographer J. E. Stimson traveled the route during its first week in existence, documenting the road for the state of Wyoming's contribution to the 1904 World's Fair. His images of now-famous landmarks like Cedar Mountain, the Shoshone River, the Holy City, Chimney Rock, Sylvan Pass, and Sylvan Lake are some of the earliest existing photographs of the route. In 2008, 105 years later, Michael Amundson traveled the same road, carefully duplicating Stimson's iconic original photographs. In Passage to Wonderland, these images are paired side by side and accompanied by a detailed explanation of the land and history depicted.
Amundson examines the physical changes along "the most scenic fifty miles in America" and explores the cultural and natural history behind them. This careful analysis of the paired images make Passage to Wonderland more than a "then and now" photography book--it is a unique exploration of the interconnectedness between the Old West and the New West. It will be a wonderful companion for those touring the Cody Road as well as those armchair tourists who can follow the road on Google Earth using the provided GPS coordinates.
The University Press of Colorado gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies at Brigham Young University toward the publication of this book.
Sometimes childhood events can shape a person’s destiny. Such was the case for George Frison. His father’s accidental death meant that Frison was raised by his grandparents, thus experiencing life on a ranch instead of the small town childhood he otherwise would have had. The wealth of prehistoric artifacts on the ranch caught his attention. Eventually, this interest prompted him to change his life’s course at age thirty-seven.
In this memoir, Frison shares his life’s work and his atypical journey from rancher to professor and archaeologist. Herding cattle, chopping watering holes in sub-zero weather, and guiding hunters in the fall were very different than teaching classes, performing laboratory work, and attending faculty and committee meetings in air-conditioned buildings. But his practical and observational experience around both domestic and wild animals proved a valuable asset to his research. His knowledge of specific animal behaviors gave insight to his studies of the Paleoindians of the northern plains as he sought to understand how their stone tools were used most effectively for hunting and how bison jumps, mammoth kills, and sheep traps actually worked. Frison’s careful research and strong involvement in the scholarly and organizational aspects of archaeology made him influential not only as an authority on the prehistory of the northern plains but also as a leader in Wyoming archaeology and Northern American archaeology at large.
This book will appeal to both the professional and the lay reader with interests in archaeology, anthropology, paleontology, plains history, animal science, hunting, or game management. Frison’s shift from ranching into the academic world of archaeology serves as a reminder that you are never too old to change your life.
Winner of the Wallace Stegner Prize in Environmental Humanities
In late 2012, more than one hundred people gathered to hear a long-awaited announcement: the Trust for Public Land had succeeded in preventing natural gas development in the remote Hoback Basin of Wyoming. This landmark agreement—purchasing leases from Plains Exploration Company—would not have come to pass without the extraordinary will and expertise of local citizens. Unchallenged, the proposed natural gas development in the national forest near the hamlet of Bondurant, Wyoming, would have brought roads, pipelines, water and air pollution, and a complete change in the character of the landscape and its communities. Saving Wyoming's Hoback tells the story of the Hoback and Noble Basins in northwestern Wyoming and of the citizens who worked together to protect the land that they loved. Retired schoolteachers, mine workers, big game hunting outfitters, and other stakeholders brought together their knowledge of the area to achieve a single goal: to prevent the industrialization of the wild country that was their home. While some disagreed about specifics, their work as individuals and as coalitions is an inspiring example of how determined citizens can make a difference.
Seven Summers is the story of a naturalist-turned-professor who flees city life each summer with her pets and power tools to pursue her lifelong dream—building a cabin in the Wyoming woods. With little money and even less experience, she learns that creating a sanctuary on her mountain meadow requires ample doses of faith, patience, and luck. This mighty task also involves a gradual and sometimes painful acquisition of flexibility and humility in the midst of great determination and naive enthusiasm.
For Corbett, homesteading is not about wresting a living from the land, but respecting and immersing herself in it—observing owls and cranes, witnessing seasons and cycles, and learning the rhythms of wind and weather in her woods and meadow. The process changes her in unexpected ways, just as it did for women homesteaders more than a century ago. The more she works with wood, the more she understands the importance of “going with the grain” in wood as well as in life. She must learn to let go, to move through loss and grief, to trust her voice, and to balance independence and dependence. Corbett also gains a better understanding of her fellow Wyomingites, a mix of ranchers, builders, gas workers, and developers, who share a love of place but often hold decidedly different values. This beautifully written memoir will appeal to readers who appreciate stories of the western landscape, independent women, or the appreciation of the natural world.
Songprints explores the musical lives of Native American women as they navigate a century of cultural change and constancy among the Shoshone of Wyoming's Wind River Reservation. Judith Vander captures the distinct personalities of five generations of Shoshone women as they describe their thoughts, feelings, and attitudes toward their music. Ranging in age from seventy to twenty, the women provide a unique historical perspective on twentieth-century Wind River Shoshone life.
In addition to documenting these oral histories, Vander transcribes and analyzes seventy-five songs that the women sing--a microcosm of Northern Plains Indian music. As she shows, each woman possesses her own songprint, a repertoire distinctive to her culture, age, and personality, as unique in its configuration as a fingerprint or footprint. Vander places the women's song repertoires in the context of Shoshone social and religious ceremonies as she offers insights into the rise of the Native American Church, the emergence and popularity of the contemporary powwow, and the expanding role of women.
Spirit Lands of the Eagle and Bear explores advances in the prehistory and early history of Numic hunter-gatherers in the Rocky Mountain West through the presentation and analysis of archaeological and historic research on the period from the earliest established presence in the Rockies and its borderlands more than a thousand years ago to the forced removal of Ute, Shoshone, and other tribes to reservations in the mid-nineteenth century.
New research into Numic archaeology, ethnohistory, and ethnography is significantly changing the understanding of migratory patterns, cultural interactions, chronology, and shared cultural-religious practices of regionally defined Numic branches and non-Numic populations of the American West. Contributors examine case studies of Ute and Shoshone material culture (ceramics, lithics, features and structures, trade and seasonal migration), chronology (dendrochronology, radiocarbon dating, thermoluminescence), and subsistence systems (hunting camps, game drives, faunal and botanical evidence of food sources). They also delineate different hunter-gatherer “ethnic groups” who co-occupied or interacted within one another’s territories through trade, raiding, or seasonal subsistence migrations, such as the Late Fremont/Ute and the Shoshone or the early Navajo/Ute and the Shoshone.
With a strong emphasis on diverse cases and new and original archaeological, ethnohistoric, and ethnographic lines of evidence, Spirit Lands of the Eagle and Bear interweaves anthropological theory and innovative applications of leading-edge scientific methodologies and technologies. The book presents a cross-section of field, laboratory, and ethnohistoric studies—including indigenous consultation—that explore past, recent, and ongoing developments in Numic cultural history and prehistory. It will be of interest to scholars of Southwestern archaeology, as well as private and government cultural resource specialists and museum staff.
Richard Adams, John Cater, Christine Chady, David Diggs, Rand Greubel, John Ives, Byron Loosle, Curtis Martin, Sally McBeth, Lindsay Montgomery, Bryon Schroeder, Matthew Stirn
Americans’ cultural love affair with their country’s landscape started in the nineteenth century, when expansionism was often promoted as divine mission, the West was still the frontier, and scenery became the backdrop of nationalist mythology. With a promise of resources ripe for development, Manifest Destiny–era aesthetics often reinforced a system of environmental degradation while preserving the wide and wild view. Although the aesthetics have evolved, contemporary media are filled with American landscape images inspired by the nineteenth century. Terre Ryan examines this phenomenon by exploring the overlapping trails of national mythology, landscape aesthetics, patriotic discourse, and public policy. Tracing her journeys around bombing grounds in Nevada, logging sites in Oregon, and energy fields in Wyoming, she argues that business and government agencies often frame commercial projects and national myths according to nineteenth-century beliefs about landscape and bounty. Advertisements and political promotional materials following this aesthetic framework perpetuate frontier-era ideas about the environment as commodity, scenery, and cultural trashlands. Transmitted through all types of media, nineteenth-century perspectives on landscape continue to inform mainstream perceptions of the environment, environmental policies, and representations of American patriotism. Combining personal narrative with factual reportage, political and cultural critique, and historical analysis, Ryan reframes the images we see every day and places them into a larger national narrative.
In 1969, Tom Wesaw was an 83-year-old Shoshone doctor and religious leader on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. He could no longer drive, which posed problems in making house calls. The arrival of young anthropologist Tom Johnson changed that. Johnson would drive Wesaw, and cook, pump water, and build fires for sweat lodges. In exchange, the elder Tom would show the younger Tom his work. The two were together so often that the people of Wind River began to refer to them affectionately by one name: Two Toms. By the light of the lamp Wesaw gave him, Johnson would write down what he learned. The Shoshone doctor wanted his student to share everything he saw and heard. Now, in Two Toms: Lessons from a Shoshone Doctor, he has.
Presented as an engaging narrative, Johnson’s book reveals details about the Shoshone culture and it chronicles the story of the friendship between these two men of different backgrounds. Filled with valuable anthropological information, this book is also highly readable and entertaining.
Margaret Murie University Press of Colorado, 1985 Library of Congress F767.T28M8 2003 | Dewey Decimal 978.755
For over thirty-seven years, Margaret and Olaus Murie made their home in the mountainous wilderness of the Tetons, where Olaus Murie conducted his famous studies of the American elk, the wapiti. Through these years their home was almost a nature-conservation shrine to thousands of Americans interested in the out-of-doors, in animals, in nature in general. Wapiti Wilderness, begun by Mrs. Murie as a sequel to her Two in the Far North, which told of the Muries' life and expeditions in Alaska, became a book written by both the Muries.
In alternate chapters, Olaus tells of his work as a field biologist for the old U.S. Bureau of Biological Survey and recounts stories of his studies of the elk and the other great animals of the West. And Mrs. Murie, from her side, describes their life together, on the trail, in the various camps, and nature adventures in that wilderness in all seasons. The book is replete with stories of Jackson Hole people, "pioneer poets," and the wild creatures that made their way into the Murie household. Olaus Murie's evocative pen-and-ink drawings illuminate each chapter, and four pages of photographs help complete the picture of what life was like in the wapiti wilderness.
The Late Prehistoric buffalo trap and meat-processing area known as the Wardell site is in Sublette County, in western Wyoming. In this volume, George C. Frison reports on the 1970–1971 excavation at the site. He describes the artifact assemblage and botanical materials and offers radiocarbon dates and an archaeological interpretation of the site. Contribution by Charles A. Reher.
First published in 1910, The White Indian Boy quickly became a western classic. Readers fascinated by real-life 'cowboys and Indians' thrilled to Nick Wilson’s frontier exploits, as he recounted running away to live with the Shoshone in his early teens, riding for the Pony Express, and helping settle Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The volume was so popular that Wilson’s son Charles was compelled to write a second book, The Return of the White Indian, which picks up in 1895 where the first memoir ends, telling the adventures of Nick Wilson’s later life.
These books, published here as a single volume, are testaments to a unique time and place in American history. Because he had a heart for adventure and unusual proficiency with Native American languages, Wilson’s life became an historical canvas on which was painted both the exploration and the closing of a frontier, as he went from childhood among the Shoshone to work as an interpreter for the U.S. government on Indian reservations in Wyoming and Idaho in his later years. This volume includes new introductory material, a family tree, and a background of Indian-white relations in Jackson Hole. Packed with amazing details about life in the Old West, Wilson’s colorful escapades are once again available to a new generation of readers.
In the heart of Wyoming sprawls the ancient homeland of the Eastern Shoshone Indians, who were forced by the U.S. government to share a reservation in the Wind River basin and flanking mountain ranges with their historical enemy, the Northern Arapahos. Both tribes lost their sovereign, wide-ranging ways of life and economic dependence on decimated buffalo. Tribal members subsisted on increasingly depleted numbers of other big game—deer, elk, moose, pronghorn, and bighorn sheep. In 1978, the tribal councils petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help them recover their wildlife heritage. Bruce Smith became the first wildlife biologist to work on the reservation. Wildlife on the Wind recounts how he helped Native Americans change the course of conservation for some of America's most charismatic wildlife.
In Wyoming Revisited, Michael A. Amundson uses the power of rephotography to show how landscapes across the state have endured over the last century. Three sets of photographs—the original black-and-white photographs taken by famed Wyoming photographer Joseph E. Stimson more than a century ago, repeat black-and-white images taken by Amundson in the 1980s, and a third view in color taken by the author in 2007–2008—are accompanied by captions explaining the history and importance of each site as well as information on the process of repeat photographic fieldwork.
The 117 locations feature street views of Wyoming towns and cities, as well as views from the state's famous natural landmarks like Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Devil's Tower National Monument, Hot Springs State Park, and Big Horn and Shoshone National Forests. In addition, Amundson provides six in-depth essays that explore the life of Joseph E. Stimson, the rephotographic process and how it has evolved, and how repeat photography can be used to understand history, landscape, historic preservation, and globalization.
Wyoming Revisited highlights the historic evolution of the American West over the past century and showcases the significant changes that have occurred over the past twenty-five years. This book will appeal to photographers, historians of the American West, and anyone interested in Wyoming's history or landscape.
The publication of this book is supported in part by the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund.