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Publisher's Summary

A Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter's gripping portrait of one western family struggling to hold on to age-old American ways.

New York Times reporter and best-selling author John Branch takes listeners to the magnificent red soil and rocky arroyos of southern Utah, where the Wright family of Smith Mesa have for generations raised cattle and world-champion saddle-bronc riders - some call them the most successful rodeo family in history.

Filled with vivid scenes of cattle ranching and the high drama of rodeo, The Last Cowboys follows three generations of Wrights through the seasons as they are battered by drought, the falling price of beef, battles over land-use and federal regulation, and rodeo's ever-present risks of serious injury.

This is an epic but intimate story of real-life cowboys squeezed by social change in the 21st century, their soiled boots planted firmly in the past while they optimistically build a future.

©2018 John Branch (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Well written, could have been a great performance

For such a well written story, the reading performance wasn’t my favorite. Felt like he was just plowing through, and after having heard the author on NPR it left me wishing he had read his book instead.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful window into lives of contemporary cowboy

Great overview of cowboy life, gave me background I was looking for prior to trip to rodeo and ranch in Wyoming. Highly recommended.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great story

True story of a rodeo family. Glimpse into ranch life and their families. Going to a rodeo soon!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

More about a Rodeo Dynasty

Engaging read that shares insight on modern day ranching, which brushes the surface of BLM land use. The book really seems to be more about the rodeo dynasty Wright family, but perhaps that's the point-are Rodeo stars the last cowboys? That aside, the narrative provides great insight to what it takes to succeed in the Rodeo business while shedding light on what it takes to be a rancher these days.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rick R.
  • Santa Monica, CA, US
  • 07-22-18

Beats any 8-second ride

A deep dive into the legacy of farming cross referenced with a back stage pass to all things rodeo. Insightful, entertaining, and non-fiction. Felt like I was reading about rock stars and touring. The Last Cowboy is indeed all that.

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Great Family and Cowboy story!

Great story, I think it is for everyone that believes in family and the cowboy way of life. The Wright family doesn't sugar coat it. They are real people with real life problems. And yes a bunch of freaks when it comes to Saddle broncs!