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distiller of the written word


Big picture economic developmentSamuel Western writes about big-picture economic and demographic trends, the “deeper, slower movement,” as Arnold Toynbee would say. Samuel is also interested in the idea of community and economic history, particularly in the northern Rocky Mountains.



Written on a four-month deadline (lots of 12 hours days involved), Pushed Off the Mountain, Sold Down the River, is one of the best-selling books in Wyoming literary history. Now in its eighth printing, the book documents Wyoming unique and sometimes fabricated history. Along with TA Larson’s History of Wyoming, Pushed Off the Mountain is considered cornerstone work in understanding how and why Wyoming works like it does.

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Solace in Numberssolace in numbers

“On the nineteenth of November, 1917, Berton B. Reed booked passage on the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad from Sheridan, Wyoming to Spokane, Washington. The ticket cost $44.08 including $3.53 for a tax covering the war raging in Europe.

The fare did not just cover his personal fare, but included the cost of shipping Mr. Reed’s charge, the body of Edward Augustus Whitney, to a crematorium in Spokane. Whitney had died two days previously in his room above the bank he started in Sheridan.

Reed, a mortician, had seen to Whitney’s embalming, dressing him in a $20.00 funeral suit, preparing him for the journey. Whitney probably did not weigh in excess of 100 pounds. Years of anemia, voluntary malnutrition, and latent pulmonary tuberculosis had worn down Whitney from the 143 pounds he weighed at the peak of his health.”

So begins the story of Wyoming’s eccentric, peripatetic, and successful banker, Edward Whitney.

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wild-fairWILD & FAIR

“Thomas McIntyre has brought together some of the finest outdoor writers to create this anthology of hunting big game in North America. These original stories cover all North American big-game-from moose and bear in Alaska to sheep and mule deer in the Lower 48; it even contains a hunt for muskox. The writers include Stephen Bodio, author of Eagle Dreams; David Petzal of Field & Stream; Craig Boddington, one of the most famous outdoor writers today; Philip Caputo of the Chicago Tribune (1973 Pulitzer Prize winner) and many more.This book will give you a profound sense of why hunting is such an integral part of the American landscape. It is a grand collection of well-crafted stories on North America’s most sought-after big-game species.”

-Good Reads

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ARTICLES & ESSAYSWyoming Evolving Tourism


A New Green Revolution
Rural Education 2.0
We’re in This Together
A Divine Business
Born caged: A new “wild’ West
The Rural West’s Pragmatic Booster
Ethanol takes off in the West
Travesty on the Wind River Reservation
A Country for Kinda Old Men
Secrets of the walnut trade
Wary in Wyoming
The Wyoming paradox
Not here, surely?
First come, first served
Buying a gulp of the Colorado
Wyoming’s AML revenue stream slowing to a trickle
Wyoming’s Permanent Mineral Trust Fund can’t entirely protect the budget from volatile commodity prices
A demographer predicts big changes for the West’s housing landscape
December 26, 2005
Rural Education 2.0
Leasing federal minerals in Wyoming and the West
The Wyoming Cattle Boom, 1868-1886
The Wyoming Sheep Business
Samuel Western’s keynote address to the Wyoming Outdoor Council

Evolving Wyoming Tourism



Nostalgia for the Old West
How to Pay Cash at the Doctor’s and Save
Remembering Dennis Curran

Economics of the Rocky Mountain West

The Jobs Machine of Campbell County
A Good Place to Live
New Johnson County Land Wars
Does Wyoming Get Enough for its Mineral Riches
Bankruptcy in Big Sky: Mile High Clubs in Trouble
New Seeds for Poor Wyoming Counties

other articles of interest

Three Wyoming Writers Recognized in Casper
Five Places Where the Rich Got Richer