Synopses & Reviews
No one is better suited to convey the flavor of the Old West than this authentic American original, whose colorful tales of cowboys, Indians, and the horses they rode have the grace of poetry and the power of myth.
"At 13, Hyde ran away from home, hopping a train from Wisconsin to his uncle's ranch in Oregon. Like countless other American kids in the 1930s, he wanted to be a cowboy. Hyde became that, and much more: rodeo clown, Life photographer, WWII soldier, author, historian and driving force behind the campaign to save the country's few remaining herds of wild horses. It's a dramatic life story, and Hyde has a raconteur's gift for telling it well. He vividly describes his initiations into the trade of cowboy, enduring the ridicule of grizzled ranch hands with little patience for a gangly teenager. Hyde earns their respect by risking his life to herd cattle through a blizzard; he earns some more by breaking horses no one else is able to tame. After he fights the Nazis, he organizes a rodeo inside a Roman coliseum in liberated France. His adventures over the years are populated with a colorful collection of friends. Some are towering figures who embody the Old West, like the septuagenarian cowboy who thinks nothing of tracking, capturing and taming a wild mustang in a single afternoon. Others seem like characters from a saloon act, like the two drunks who, attempting to dig a grave with dynamite, accidentally blast the surrounding coffins above ground. One especially captivating personality is rodeo clown Slim Pickens, whose lopsided grin would eventually enliven films like Dr. Strangelove and Blazing Saddles. Hyde mourns these figures' passing along with the West he loved. As wistful as it is humorous, this salty memoir is also an elegy for a bygone era. Photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)