Writer Wallace Stegner called the American West “the native home of hope” because we’re all striving to create a society to match our scenery. Those words are as true today as they were in Stegner’s times.
In the shadows of that scenery, our cities grow, our small towns shrink, our ranches are consolidated, our National Parks fill. Yet, as Westerners, we are galvanized by these mountains and prairies and forests and deserts.
It’s what we came for (or our great-great grandparents came for) and it’s why we don’t plan to leave, no matter the boom or bust. The identity of a modern-day Westerner is an evolving one, but the mountain man, the gold digger, the pioneer, the Native American, the lumberjack, shades of them live on among us, inside us.
The best of who we are, and yes, sometimes the worst.
The Modern West looks past the stereotypes in search of the real characters and stories that reveal the evolving identity of the American West.
Find your true West. Stream an episode here or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
The Podcast Team
Melodie Edwards has covered a wide variety of Western topics from wildlife to Native American issues to agriculture to rural health. She is the recipient of two national PRNDI awards, one for her investigation of the reservation housing crisis, another for a civil discourse over a confrontation at a Gillette, Wyoming mosque. She’s also won numerous regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, two for “best use of sound.” Her work has also won two Native American Journalism awards.
Melodie grew up in Walden, Colorado where her father worked in the oilfield and timber industries and her mother was the editor of the Jackson County Star. They also ran an Orvis fly fishing store for several years. She graduated with an MFA from the University of Michigan on a Colby Fellowship and received two Hopwood Awards there for fiction and nonfiction. She is the recipient of the 2019 Pattie Layser Greater Yellowstone Fellowship, the Doubleday Wyoming Arts Council Award for Women and is the author of the young adult novel, Akorena & the League of Crows and Hikes Around Fort Collins.
Melodie and her husband own Night Heron Books and Coffeehouse in Laramie, Wyoming. She also loves to putz in the garden, and hike and ski in the mountains with her family.
Logo by Casidy Mittelstadt
Theme song “The Parade” by Screen Door Porch, written by Seadar Rose and Aaron Davis
The Modern West is a production of Wyoming Public Media, Christina Kuzmych, General Manager
Red Bluff Sunset – Sandi Dunn
Snowy Range Wildflowers – Melanie McCormack
Melodie Edwards – Anna Rader
Migration – Joe Riis