7 Of The Best Books Based in Wyoming
Wyoming gets a reputation for being oft forgotten, especially in pop culture. So much so that many of us who grew up here jump at the chance to see Wyoming portrayed on the big screen or in novels. Here are 7 of the best books that are set in the Cowboy State. Some you may have heard of, others might be crossing your list for the first time.
Open Season by C.J. Box
Set in the fictional town of Twelve Sleep, Wyoming, (A pretty obvious allegory for Ten Sleep, near the bighorns,) the main character is the newly appointed game warden. When he finds a local hunting outfitter dead in his backyard, he takes it personally and looks into the crime himself, without the assistance of local law enforcement that wants to sweep the crime under the rug.
This is the first in a series of books called the "Joe Pickett Books," which has 19 volumes so far.
The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson
The first in the critically acclaimed Walt Longmire books by Wyoming-based author, Craig Johnson, The Cold Dish takes place in the fictional county of Absaroka, Wyoming and follows the investigations by county Sheriff, Walt Longmire.
The Longmire series contains 14 books to date, as well as a television series, and a yearly festival in Buffalo called "Longmire Days."
Skies Like These by Tess Hilmo
A young author addition to the list that is based around 12-year-old Jade, who has her perfect summer derailed when she is sent to spend it instead on her Aunt's ranch in Wyoming. It includes a coming-of-age tale with a "real life" Butch Cassidy, who wants her to be his Sundance Kid.
My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara
A story about responsibility, courage, and ultimately, friendship, this book series is well-loved by many generations since it's first publish date of 1941. The Flicka series takes place on the fictional Goose Bar Ranch, just outside of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and tells the story of a boy learning to become a man through his training of the eponymous horse, Flicka.
This is the first in a trilogy about Flicka and Ken, followed by Thunderhead and Green Grass of Wyoming. It's enjoyed many television and film adaptations over the years.
Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx
Before the movie of the same name, this book stood out as unique in it's genre, blending western elements and a love story forbidden by social stigmas of the time, Brokeback Mountain tells the story of two ranch hands who share a relationship while in the wilds of Wyoming caring for a herd of sheep, and the strife of returning to their lives afterwards.
The Legend of Colton H. Bryant by Alexandra Fuller
The true story of an oil-rig hand in Wyoming, "Colton H. Bryant was one of Wyoming's native sons and grown by that high, dry place, he never once wanted to leave it. "Wyoming loves me," he said, and it was true. Wyoming—roughneck, wild, open, and searingly beautiful—loved him, and Colton loved it back."
This book is hailed for being a "Modern tragedy, biopic, and lament" all in one.
The Virginian by Owen Wister
Considered the first Western novel and published in 1902, Owen Wister wrote this story that fictionalizes the Johnson County Cattle Wars, and places it near Medicine Bow, Wyoming, with a man from back east caught in the middle of a story of intrigue and cattle rustling, as well as the law on the old west plains.
A must-read for any Wyomingite.