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.

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A federal agency known as the Mineral Management Service, or MMS, has faced scrutiny as of late after the BP oil disaster in the Gulf. The agency falls under the Department of Interior, headed by former Colorado Senator, Democrat Ken Salazar. But, this isn’t the first time MMS has come under fire. High [...]

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With the reintroduction of the wolf into Rocky Mountain regions, some are advocating for hunting the animals. Long time High Country News contributor and contributing Field & Stream editor Hal Herring recently wrote an article entitled “One Way to Save the Wolf: Hunt It.” He speaks to High Country [...]

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The deck is looking increasingly stacked against coal in many Western states. With broad bipartisan support and endorsements, Colorado lawmakers recently passed a bill that makes the conversion of three Front Range power plants from coal to natural gas almost a sure bet. High Country News producer Cally Carswell recently sat down [...]

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News

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December 20, 2014 | NPR · The two officers were shot inside of their marked patrol car in Brooklyn. The suspected gunman has died of a self-inflicted gunshot.
 

AP
December 20, 2014 | NPR · An analyst from GasBuddy.com says 24 states have at least one station with the price per gallon at $1.99 or less.
 

AP
December 20, 2014 | NPR · He flew nearly 150 missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, but after the war, Steward returned home and was denied a mortgage because of his skin color.
 

Arts & Life

Ocean/Corbis
December 20, 2014 | OZY · Rising temperatures have hastened harvest dates in Sonoma County — and they’re changing grape-growing patterns around the world. Vineyards are responding with everything from sunscreen to sensors.
 

iStockphoto
December 20, 2014 | NPR · Mark Bailey, who detailed old Hollywood’s legendary love affair with liquor in his book Of All the Gin Joints, shares stories from a bygone era over cocktails at a legendary Hollywood bar.
 

AP
December 20, 2014 | NPR · Some in the entertainment industry are wondering if they’ll have to be careful now about the stories they tell or the jokes they make in the wake of Sony’s withdrawal of The Interview.
 

Music

Whitney Curtis for NPR
December 20, 2014 | NPR · Michel Martin has spent much of the last few months on the road, and she has been moved by the people she’s met and the stories they’ve shared with her. She remembers her ‘Top 5′ moments of 2014.
 

NPR
December 20, 2014 | NPR · She came to the desk a little unsure, and left singing “West Memphis” with intensity and passion. Williams has a voice like no other, and it shines in these intimate moments.
 

Courtesy of the artist
December 20, 2014 | NPR · From Aphex Twin’s unmistakable return to Leon Vynehall’s emotional faculty with samples, distinctive voices dominate the list of electronic albums that made an impression this year.
 

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