Publisher: Bison Books
Binding: Trade paperback
In 1892 a stocky Danish immigrant cowboy named Magnus Jensen rode into south-central Montana, up a valley recently vacated by the Absaroka (Crow) Indians. He liked what he saw and staked his future on the ranch he would carve there, on the irrigated fields he would water with ditches he dug, on the spare but protein-rich grass that would nourish his stock on the adjacent rangeland.
More than a century has passed, but the nature of ranching in Montana has changed little. Spring still brings the birth of colts and calves, summer the growth, and fall the harvest. And in winter, when the snow drifts against the corral fences and the hay supply dwindles, there is always hope for the warm southern wind called "chinook" (snow-eater) and for that ultimate colt scheduled to appear when the grass turns green.
Dan Aadland and his wife Emily live today on the ranch built by Magnus Jensen (Emily's grandfather). In this book Aadland approaches ranching as Thoreau approached life at Walden, to "front the essential facts" of it, to find its common denominator, to look at ranching as one looks at the yellow flower of the prickly pear cactus, acknowledging the spines while admiring the beauty. On the framework of one recent year, the essence of ranching is woven in tales past and present, tragic and comic. And through it all, a story is told--the story of the narrator's relationship with a remarkable horse--a once-in-a lifetime horse--a horse, perhaps, too good to be true.