Basque Sheepherders in the West

Do you remember sheepherder wagons? I recall seeing them off in the distance, out on the prairie, in those Wyoming hills west of Cheyenne. They were found on open range around the west, on land where cows don’t do well but sheep thrive. That sheep wagon, with its white canvas top, was a beacon in …

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Farming Has a Long History in the West

  The mysterious cliff dwellings in the American southwest are fascinating places. They are historical registers that teach us just a little of ancient times, of people who were farming here long before Columbus.  The people who lived here are the true founders of American agriculture. Some of these dwellings are very remote. A few, …

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Death Valley’s Shorty Harris

Ballarat, California is a town on the edge of nowhere, a collection of mud huts and tin shanties in one of the most hostile deserts in the world. The town was born to serve those fortune hunters known as the Rainbow Chasers. The Rainbow Chasers hunted minerals all around the Mojave Desert. One of the …

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Molossia: Nation Building on a Tiny Scale

The west has a long tradition of enjoying the eccentricities of oddball characters - people like Joshua Norton, who declared himself Emperor of the United States in 1859 and was treated with honors by san Francisco citizens for the rest of his life.   There’s even a movement today to name the bay bridge for …

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