The Modern West: The Great Individualist

In this bonus episode, we’re sharing the beginning of a series from our friends at The Modern West, hosted by Melodie Edwards, from Wyoming Public Media. The Modern West asks some tough questions about what it means to be a Westerner in the 21st century, not afraid to investigate some sacred cows and presenting some challenging voices. In exchange, The Modern West will be airing one of our episodes in the coming weeks.

Writer Wallace Stegner called the West “the native home of hope” because it’s here we’re striving to create a society to match our scenery. In the shadows of that scenery, our cities grow, our small towns shrink, our ranches are consolidated, our National Parks overflow.

Yet, as Westerners, we continue to feel deeply connected to our mountains, prairies, forests, and deserts. It’s what we came for and it’s why we don’t plan to leave, no matter the boom or bust.

Guided by host Melodie Edwards’ personal connection to the region, The Modern West seeks out the people who still believe that the West is the native home of hope.

This show digs deep, searching out diverse perspectives that recognize not only the origin stories of this place but also its darkest days. The Modern West podcast is here to document the evolving identity of the American West.


About this episode

The cowboy roaming horseback across the American West is nearly inextricable from what it means to be American. Now a new generation of ranchers is working to reinvent this iconic way of life to fit a modern world.

For the Elliot family, there isn’t just one kind of cowboy. There are guys like Jake who chase the idea of the rodeo star, never sinking roots, a rolling stone. And then there’s Jim, the hardworking and intimidating rancher. In this episode, The Modern West sets out to bust some myths about what it means to be a “real” cowboy and whether ranching ever measures up to our American ideals.

The Modern West website

The Voice of Stewardship in the American West.