Book: Gittin' Western

Gittin' Western: The resulting chaos when the forces of nature and the laws of physics collide where you are standing.

Duane Wiltse, upon returning to Michigan from a Wyoming hunting trip, tells his wife he has bought a horse. She rails at him, demanding to know where they are going to keep this horse, and he tells her that won’t be a problem, because he’s bought the ranch the horse lives on, too. To her dismay and his excitement, the family packs up and goes to live with the horse on the ranch, and the results are compiled in Duane’s latest venture, his book Gittin’ Western. The paperback regales the reader with tales from the ranch and the places Duane has made his home, from the town of Cody and the wilderness bordering Yellowstone National Park to the high plains of New Mexico and back again. Perfect for those dreaming of doing the same, and trying for anyone who is a stickler for grammar or sympathetic to his wife’s attitude, Gittin’ Western is one man’s journey and millions of men’s dream.

At times poetic, as when describing the mountains being “as unyielding to men’s demands as they are beautiful to our sense,” this book is mainly a prosaic compilation of hunting stories and tall tales. Seasons are joined haphazardly with revelations of a disintegrating marriage and tirades against the government’s policies concerning the neighboring Yellowstone National Park. But the beef of the book—the anecdotes including constant worries with bears, killer fires, and a hilarious account of a hunt with an Iranian prince—is what makes this read enjoyable for those who live near the mountains and those who have the dream Duane continues to fulfill.