"An ever-intriguing writer."
"A genuine talent."



Song Of The Rocking Z Dude Ranch

Across The Great Divide,
in a hole between two hills,
beside the shining Little Prickly Pear,
stands the ranch of one Zackary Wirth;
eldest son of a local catskinner named “Butch”.
The Wirth family hail from faraway Germany originally.
Zackary's great-grandfather came West in search of gold dust in the year 1862,
and his grandfather was a tailor who cut meat for the military before
marrying himself a pretty Swedish courtesan in the summer of 1876.
The same year in which the Wirth family first
homesteaded this patch of swooning grassland.
Make no bones about it, Zack’s a man’s man through-and-through.
And Montanan to the core. Right to the very quick.
A God-fearing paterfamilias with a preacher-man's beard
and an infectious belly-laugh as uproarious as all hell.
A buckaroo who could ride on horseback before he could walk.
The enduring romantic appeal of the cowboy, he tells me,
lies in the spirit of independence that he’s come to embody.
That, and the underbelly of violence hitched to his wagon trails.
The gambling and the drinking and the womanizing,
and all that dagnabit cold-blooded murdering
that took place in the dirt and the dust
of the fledgling townships still sticky
from the beestings milk of their founding.
So embrace the romantic appeal while you can Zack tells me.
But don’t forget that even Duke John Wayne
sometimes died at the end of the final reel.
Zackary Wirth stands upon his quarterdeck, and watches
the clouds pick-up pace as the day ages into late afternoon.
He stands and watches the sun curdle into the far horizon over yonder.
And he breathes deep of the sagebrush and the fragrant pine aspen.
There are more cattle in The State of Montana than there are people.
And approximately 12,000 miles of asphalt; much of which follows
routes originally blazed by the annual migration of the hairy buffalow.
Montana is where people come to when they don’t wish to be found.
For there’s a awful lot of land to lose yourself in.
Just ask the notorious Hole In The Wall gang.
Land. Lots of land. Under Big Sky high above.
Roll on, thou wide and sun-bleached ocean. Roll on!
And as the old-timers used to say, if you’re going
to eat watermelon, you’d best go eat some watermelon.

Evelyn Cameron: Photographing Montana



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