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

May 23, 2015 | NPR · Workers continue to clean the coastline near Santa Barbara, where some 105,000 gallons of crude oil were spilled. Several pelicans, both dead and alive, have been found soaked in oil.
 

May 23, 2015 | NPR · Cleveland residents are on edge after a white police officer was found not guilty in the 2012 shooting deaths of an unarmed black driver and his passenger. The shooting ended a high-speed car chase.
 

Reuters/Landov
May 23, 2015 | NPR · The ceremony for Oscar Romero — who was gunned down during mass in the capital, San Salvador, in 1980 — is the last step before being declared a saint by the Vatican.
 

Arts & Life

NPR
May 23, 2015 | NPR · It’s Chinatown meets Mad Max in writer Paolo Bacigalupi’s new desert dystopia, filled with climate refugees, powerful state border patrols, and secret agents called water knives.
 

Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
May 23, 2015 | NPR · BASE jumping pioneer Carl Boenish became famous for jumping with his wife Jean in the 1970s and ’80s. Marah Strauch, director of the documentary, says “this felt like a love story to me.”
 

May 23, 2015 | NPR · In Nell Zink’s new book, Mislaid, a young woman marries her male professor. It’s 1965. She likes women; he likes men. What follows is a biting satire about gender, race and sexuality.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
May 23, 2015 | NPR · The polymath pianist and composer has released three new albums — including a recording of his own Mass, whose writing was interrupted by a disastrous car accident.
 

Getty Images
May 23, 2015 | NPR · A defense of the monumental, enduring, deceptively complex Swedish pop quartet, and the underlying emotion that has helped its hooks connect with fans for generations.
 

Sean Mikha'el Field for NPR
May 23, 2015 | NPR · Working-class youths invented the steel drum in the 1930s by banging dents in the tops of discarded oil drums to create notes. Today, steelpan is Trinidad’s de facto national instrument.
 

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