A city where the desert is everywhere, where sprawl into magnificent desolation is the main industry, whose oldest building is still its most beautiful, whose surrounding mountains are its soul: Lawrence W. Cheek explains why American Heritage’s Great American Place Award for the year 2000 goes to…

How, exactly, does one dispose of an owl in the living room—a live, wild great horned owl two feet long, armed with talons that look as if they could rip open an artery, staring defiantly from a perch on your ceiling fan? My friend Don, who had moved to Tucson from the gentler wilds of West Virginia, didn’t know, but he at least was smart enough not to try it himself.

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Who Was Wyatt Earp?

From law officer to murderer to Hollywood consultant: the strange career of a man who became myth

Late in his life Henry Fonda, at dinner with a producer named Melvin Shestack, recalled meeting an old man who said he had firsthand knowledge of a memorable Fonda character, Wyatt Earp, the legendary frontier lawman of John Ford’s classic My Darling Clementine .Read more »

A Heritage Preserved

Fort Adobe

The building shown below may look like a low-rise adobe condominium, and in a sense, that is what it is today—someone’s house. But it was once something more: the quartermaster and commissary storehouse for Fort Lowell, Arizona Territory, one of a string of army posts scattered about the Southwest in the 1870’s and 1880’s as bastions against the raids of cunning, resourceful, diligent—and often nearly invisible—Apache Indians.Read more »

Headin’ for the (Almost) Last Roundup

Organizers held an old-fashioned cattle drive to commemorate the cowboy's role in winning the West, but, as they say, nostalgia ain't what it used to be.

The cowboys are gone, and so are the critters, Owen Ulph tells us in “The Cowboy and the Critter” on the preceding pages. The West, Ulph says, will never see their like again. Perhaps-but the image left behind them, lambent with truth or riddled with error, is not something we Americans are willing to give up easily. Or so it would seem from an event that took place in Arizona in the fall of 1975. Read more »

American Characters

Western miners, the hard-rock stiffs, were as tough and horny-handed a breed of men as any in the world.

The man and the face are anonymous-and familiar. Familiar, because this man, propped up with the tools of his trade, was but one of the many thousands who over a period of about seventy years in the trans-Mississippi West spent the bulk of their adult lives wrestling with the brute immobility of stone. They were miners, hard-rock miners, though more often than not they called themselves hard-rock stiffs, as tough and horny-handed a breed of men as any in the world.Read more »

The Hopi Way

Isolation ends for “the People of Peace”

Perched on the edge of a rocky mesa six hundred feet above the desert of northeastern Arizona is the Hopi Indian village of Hotevilla.Read more »