One Man's West

One Man's West

One Man's West

One Man's West


The American West of the 1930s and 1940s was still a place of prospectors, cowboys, ranchers, and mountaineers, one that demanded backbreaking, lonely, and dangerous work. Still, midcentury pioneers such as David Lavender remembered "not the cold and the cruel fatigue, but rather the multitude of tiny things which in their sum make up the elemental poetry of rock and ice and snow." And as the nation exhausted its gold and silver veins, as law reached the boomtowns on the frontier, and as the era of the great cattle ranches and drives came to an end, Lavender felt compelled to document his experiences in rugged southwest Colorado to preserve this rapidly disappearing way of life. One Man's West is Lavender's ode to his days on the Continental Divide and the story of his experiences making a living in the not so wild but not yet tamed West. Like stories told around a campfire, One Man's West is captivating yet conversational, incredible yet realistic, and introduces some of the most charming characters in western literature. This new Bison Books edition features an introduction and afterword by the author's son that discuss other phases and facets of his father's remarkable life, as well as a tribute to the author by his grandson. It also includes nine new photographs from the Lavender family archives.


David G. Lavender

I am the only child born of the marriage of this book’s author and his beloved wife, Martha. Passing reference to my existence is made here and there in the narrative. I am the baby sleeping through the Christmas party and the adolescent admiring a teenaged girl in Moab, Utah.

I arrived at a difficult time; the family’s cattle ranch was going through economic hardship, and my uncle Dwight died less than three months after I was born. Still, I think my mother and father were glad to have me around, and as I grew older and began to understand that my infancy was rather unusual, I became fascinated with my parents’ story and amazed that they were fated to meet and marry. My father’s first book has always been my favorite, and I have reread it many times over the years. the land and the adventures he describes in One Man’s West shaped my life and the lives of my wife and our children and grandchildren.

Recently, my wife, Val, and I began spending a portion of each year in Montrose, Colorado. Soon after we first arrived, we met a delightful woman named Ramona Hawk, a resident in a retirement home there. Though I obviously didn’t remember her, I knew that she had been my nanny at the family’s summer ranch (aptly named the Summer Camp) during the summer of 1935, when I was one year old. We became . . .

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