Here at the Independent we have been talking a lot about how a community can make a quality of life for its citizens. Quality of life is one of the top reasons people move to small towns---and certainly why they stay. Of course, there are many schools of thought on how to develop this type of lifestyle--- from relying on good government leadership, to strong volunteerism, to groups working collaboratively.
In 2009, when Audrey Johnson returned to Colorado and settled in Kiowa County, she started looking for a job. The only position available was with the Department of Social Services (DSS), so she applied and was hired. All she thought she was getting was just that: a job.
J. Evetts Haley’s 1936 biography, Charles Goodnight, Cowman and Plainsman, U. of OK Press, is about the only book that details the life and partnership of Goodnight and Loving. I’m sure there are others that touch on their lives and probably influenced McMurtry’s novel, but it’s the next good place to start looking for the connections to Colorado and how they fit into the Montana Trail story.
Happy Juneteenth! This past year, I have been blessed enough to be educated by Southern communities on tradition, diversity, and culture. With growing up in the Midwest, I am familiar with the lifestyle and culture we were fed but was unable to learn further. I consider Juneteenth as the ‘Lacuna’ in our history books; or the missing piece.
Watching the westerns from silver screen to television series like “Rawhide” with Gil Favor and Rowdy Yates leading a herd of cattle to market there’s always a silent character, but it was as much a part of a ‘drive’ as the point, swing and drag riders, the American version of the Mexican vaqueros ‘cowboys’ (from Spanish vaca = cow) with their lariats (from the Span. la riata) wearing chaps (from the Span. chaparejos = open-backed leather leggings made to protect the vaqueros’ legs while riding through brushy country or chaparral).