One Man's West


One Man's West

New Edition

David Lavender
Introduction and afterword to the Bison Books edition by David G. Lavender
Tribute to the author by David W. Lavender
Line drawings by William Arthur Smith

320 pages
19 Illus., 9 photographs

Look inside the Book

October 2007


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eBook (EPUB)

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January 2013


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eBook (PDF)

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October 2007


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About the Book

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.

Author Bio

David Lavender (1910–2003) was a historian of the American West whose many books include The Way to the Western Sea: Lewis and Clark across the Continent, Westward Vision: The Story of the Oregon Trail, and Bent’s Fort, all available in Bison Books editions. David G. Lavender is the author’s son and David W. Lavender is the author’s grandson.


One Man’s West is a silver knife that slices through time. We should be grateful David Lavender had the acumen to record his memories of that time and to Bison Books for keeping them in print.”—Colorado Central Magazine

"Believe me, David Lavender can write. He can make you laugh; he can make people come alive in print."—Book Week

“[Lavender’s] story is realistic and readable. . . . He [does not] spread any gloss on the hardships. He does, however, put on record some of the most engaging characters in the modern literature of the West. He makes it understandable why he says that, after damning the country mightily, one comes to an absurd affection for the particular part of it he has most reason to hate.”—New York Times

“A true classic. . .  This is a book worth reading. It is also worth revisiting, if you have already ‘been there.’ This edition is enhanced by an introduction by David G. Lavender, the author’s son, and an afterword by David W. Lavender, his grandson.”—Journal of Arizona History

Table of Contents

I Winter Trail
II Boarding at Timber Line
III Underground
IV A Bath for Easter
V Summer Pastoral
VI High-Altitude Athletics
VII The Long Wait
VIII Moving Up
IX Greasy Sack
X Sandrock
XI Mormon Cowboy
XII Summer Again
XIII Ropes, Guns, and Practical Jokes
XIV Bunch Grass
XV Crrazy as a Sheepherder
XVI Canyon Camp
XVII Christmas in the Rimrock
XVIII Uranium

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