The Great Individualist Trailer

The Great Individualist Trailer

The cowboy roaming horseback across the American West is nearly inextricable from what it means to be American. But in reality, most beef is raised out East where there’s more grass, and only a tiny fraction of the economy in the West comes from cattle. Now a new generation of ranchers is working to reinvent this iconic way of life to fit a modern world.

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The Rolling Stone: The Great Individualist Part 1

The Rolling Stone: The Great Individualist Part 1

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, we bust some myths about what it means to be a “real” cowboy and whether ranching ever measures up to our American ideals.

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Se Benefician De Ella: The Great Individualist Part 2

Se Benefician De Ella: The Great Individualist Part 2

The Abeyta family has been driving sheep down from the mountains of southern Colorado for generations. But it hasn’t been easy to keep that tradition alive – they’ve had to fight for it. Through their eyes, we trace back the beginnings of the cowboy to the Mexican vaquero and find out how those adventurous roots are still very much alive in the American southwest. (more…)

Cowboy Up Trailer

Cowboy Up Trailer

Everyone likes to say that there’s no better place to grow up than in the Rocky Mountains. Building snow forts, riding your bike everywhere, learning how to find your way out of the woods when you’re lost. But for kids having a hard time, no one’s handing them a map and compass. In Wyoming, kids are incarcerated and dying of suicide at higher rates than anywhere else. Longtime education reporter Tennessee Watson started to wonder if all this had to do with the “cowboy up” attitude we take toward child-rearing in the American West. (more…)

Stranger On The Side Of The Road: Cowboy Up Part 1

Stranger On The Side Of The Road: Cowboy Up Part 1

In 1892, Wyoming hosts its first execution and it’s a teenage boy named Kansas Charley. His trial causes a big national debate: is Charley a hardened criminal or a neglected child? It’s a question we still haven’t answered in the American West, where children are incarcerated in greater numbers than anywhere else. We also hear from a modern-day Kansas Charley who’s living out his days in Wyoming’s prisons who says, growing up, no one ever asked him the simple question: do you need help?

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Caught In The Current: Cowboy Up Part 2

Caught In The Current: Cowboy Up Part 2

In Rock Springs, Wyoming, we follow the treacherous paths of two young women. Larissa endures one trauma after another and soon finds herself unable to escape a cycle of probation and incarceration. Another kid, Jess, endures racism and bullying and seems headed down the same road. The system fails them both, but Jess’s story takes a turn when she lucks out with a new teacher. But Mr. Baker says kids shouldn’t have to rely on good luck. (more…)

Heavy To One, Light To Many: Cowboy Up Part 3

Heavy To One, Light To Many: Cowboy Up Part 3

Fifteen-year-old Kate just lost her mom. On top of that, her learning disabilities are making it hard to go to school. She’s missed so much that the school says she might get sent away to a residential treatment center hundreds of miles away. But her grandparents are fighting hard for their right to keep her home. (more…)

Shall Furnish Medicine Trailer

Shall Furnish Medicine Trailer

Reservations have been some of the hardest-hit communities in the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, for Native Americans, this all feels awfully familiar…the arrival of a terrible illness that kills elders while the federal government does little to stop it. But this time, tribes know what to do. Coming September 29, we’ll bring you a three-part series we’re calling Shall Furnish Medicine, tracing that devastating history from its beginnings.  (more…)

Enough Is Enough: Shall Furnish Medicine Part 2

Enough Is Enough: Shall Furnish Medicine Part 2

It’s the late 1800s. With no government help in sight, Omaha citizen Dr. Susan LaFlesche is determined to bring health care to her tribe. Decades later, the U.S. still hasn’t gotten around to fulfilling its treaty promise to furnish medicine. So, tribes find a way to take over their health care system, and a quiet social movement is born. (more…)

We’re Still Here: Shall Furnish Medicine Part 3

We’re Still Here: Shall Furnish Medicine Part 3

When COVID-19 arrives on reservation borders, tribes aren’t sure if their newly minted health care programs can hold up against the onslaught. The fear is that this is history happening all over again. But the two tribes on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming decide early to roll up their sleeves–literally–in a fight for the very survival of their tribal identity.

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Season 2: Ghost Town(ing) Trailer

Season 2: Ghost Town(ing) Trailer

They say those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. So what can Old West ghost towns teach us about today’s shrinking rural towns? Starting September 16, we’ll take you to the windswept prairie where towns once stood and to new ghost towns in the making. We’re exploring rural decline and resilience, and asking, why does it matter if America’s small towns disappear? (more…)

“You Can’t Eat The View”: Ghost Town(ing) Part 1

“You Can’t Eat The View”: Ghost Town(ing) Part 1

Years ago, small towns like Walden, Colorado were vibrant. Street dances, a health food store, a movie theatre, the works. At least, that’s how host Melodie Edwards remembers it from her childhood. Now it’s shrinking, part of the “ghost towning” of the American West. But can communities like Walden find a way to survive? Or will Melodie’s parents be forced to move away, like so many others? (more…)

Bust Town: Ghost Town(ing) Part 2

Bust Town: Ghost Town(ing) Part 2

Why are we so fascinated by old ghost towns? And what can they teach us? We go looking for the ghosts of an old silver mining community called Teller City to see if they have any lessons for how the nearby town of Walden, Colorado can keep from falling into the same cycles of boom and bust. (more…)

A Stranger Comes To Town: Ghost Town(ing) Part 3

A Stranger Comes To Town: Ghost Town(ing) Part 3

The West has long been a haven for the ultra-wealthy. Sometimes, they move into small towns with the aim of revitalizing them. But in Walden, Colorado, one wealthy businessman’s plans went awry, with dire consequences for the community. (more…)

The Environmental Billionaire: Ghost Town(ing) Part 4

The Environmental Billionaire: Ghost Town(ing) Part 4

2020 feels apocalyptic. It’s not just the pandemic; there’s also drought, mega-fires, melting glaciers. Meanwhile, the ultra-wealthy are stockpiling land, buying up small family ranches across the Mountain West. It makes you wonder, is it really a good idea to put that much environmental control in the hands of so few? (more…)

Gabby’s Story: Ghost Town(ing) Part 5

Gabby’s Story: Ghost Town(ing) Part 5

The rural West has been seeing a steeper and steeper decline into despair, especially among white men. But when a Vietnam vet’s mental breakdown threatens the safety of Walden, the small town has a response that neighborhoods everywhere could learn from. (more…)

The Doctor In The Screen: Ghost Town(ing) Part 6

The Doctor In The Screen: Ghost Town(ing) Part 6

Living in a pandemic doesn’t have many plus sides to it. But there is one bright side for rural America. Telehealth is finally getting to flex its muscles. But adjusting to technology isn’t easy for older patients, and that’s one thing small towns have lots of: senior citizens. So, we take a trip to Sheridan, Wyoming to see how well telehealth is working for veteran Ron Loporto. (more…)

The Garden On The Prairie: Ghost Town(ing) Part 7

The Garden On The Prairie: Ghost Town(ing) Part 7

Many places in the American West are becoming food deserts, where it’s hard to get healthy food. Sometimes that’s because people can’t afford it or because it means driving long distances. And for really isolated places, sometimes it’s because of both. Now, a group of ladies in Wyoming’s struggling coal country are working on a plan to solve hunger there. (more…)