Western Skies: July 3, 2011, “Cowboy Myth and Culture”

July 3, 2011

One of the most pervasive notions of American cultural identity is that of the Old West and the myth of the cowboy. This month we stick a magnifying glass up to those notions to see where they originate, and where they continue to resonate.

You can listen to the full episode, or download it here:

You can also head to the individual segments for the audio, full conversations, and web extras:

Let's ask the Locals
Roundtable Discussion: Cowboy Myth and Culture and the Pikes Peak Region
Western Jubilee
Profile: Scotty Hall
The Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site
Q & A: The Tumblin' Tumbleweed
The Hayden Scientific Expedition

Western Skies is a collaboration between KRCC News and the Big Something.


Let's ask the Locals

KRCC's Tristan Dickison stopped by two visitor hotspots in the Pikes Peak Region, namely Garden of the Gods and Manitou Springs, to ask locals and tourists about the American West, and how Colorado figures in as part of that legacy.

Listen, or download here:

Listen

Roundtable Discussion: Cowboy Myth and Culture, and the Pikes Peak Region

Left-Right: Matt Mayberry, Kim Walker, Anne Hyde. Photo: Noel Black.

There's a lot of cultural identity surrounding the American West. To talk about some of the origins of these notions, and the myth of the cowboy, we're joined this month by Kim Walker, professor of digital film and media arts at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs; Anne Hyde, history professor at Colorado College and author of the recently published book Empires, Nations, and Families which details the American West from 1800-1860; and Matt Mayberry, who directs the Colorado Springs Pioneer's Museum. Matt also sits on KRCC's Community Advisory Board. We begin with Matt Mayberry answering the question...what does it mean to be Western as it relates to the American West?

Listen to the conversation as aired, or download here:

Listen

Here's the full conversation, also available for download (about 1 hr long):

Listen

Western Jubilee

If the cowboy is nothing more than a myth, no one told the folks at Western Jubilee Recording Company in Colorado Springs. KRCC's Noel Black stopped in one recent night to hear the high lonesome sounds of the Old West.

Listen to the piece below, or download here.

Western Jubilee Soul of the Cowboy

Profile: Scotty Hall

KRCC's Craig Richardson also went in search of a real cowboy to explore the boundaries between myth and reality. Here, Scotty Hall of Pueblo explains the realities of ranching in the 21st century.

Listen here, or download:

Listen

The music in this piece was by Don Edwards, Rich O'Brien and Ed Bruce.


The Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

On the eastern plains of Colorado near the town of Eads, is the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site. It marks the place where Colonel John Chivington led about 700 territorial militiamen to an encampment of Cheyenne and Arapaho. By one estimate, at least 160 Indians were killed and mutilated, mostly women and children. KRCC's Andrea Chalfin recently visited the site to see how it connects the past to the present, and the importance of examining popular conceptions of myth and reality.

You can listen to the piece below, or download here.

Listen

Park Ranger Craig Moore provides this account of the Sand Creek Massacre events (about 22 minutes long):

As to the many people involved with or contributing to the Sand Creek Massacre, park ranger Craig Moore offers the following thoughts.

Colonel John Chivington

Colonel John Chivington, photo from Wikipedia, indicated as public domain

Continued to stand by his actions at Sand Creek. Moore:

Listen

Chief Black Kettle

Chief Black Kettle, photo from Wikipedia, indicated as public domain

Killed at the Battle of Washita River near present day Cheyenne, Oklahoma. Moore:

Listen

Captain Silas Soule

Captain Silas Soule, photo from Wikipedia, indicated as public domain

Shot on duty as a Provost Marshall in Denver in 1865. Moore:

Listen

Q & A: The Tumblin' Tumbleweed

Creative Commons/Flickr

One of the most iconic symbols of the Old West in film and television is that of the tumblin’ tumbleweed. But the tumbleweed has a dirty little secret. It’s an invasive species. High County News editorial fellow Emilene Ostlind recently wrote an article about the plant after researchers contacted her regarding studies they're doing to control tumbleweed. KRCC's Andrea Chalfin spoke with her about what she discovered about what is less commonly known as the Russian thistle.

You can listen to the conversation as aired or download here:

Listen

You can also listen to the full interview, or download it here (about 28 minutes long):

Here you can read Emilene Ostlind's original article, "It May be High Noon for Tumbleweed." Emilene joined us from the studios of KVNF in Paonia.


The Hayden Scientific Expedition

On the day that marked the 2nd anniversary of the founding of Colorado Springs, the New York Times imagined the wondrous discoveries the Hayden Scientific Expedition of the Colorado Rockies would uncover.

Listen here, or download the piece:

Hayden Expedition History

This piece was produced by Craig Richardson and Noel Black. Music is "The Wild Wagoner" by Jilson Setters. But to return to the petrified stumps...!