In These Hills

Front Cover
U of Nebraska Press, Jun 1, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 180 pages
1 Review
After a lifetime spent writing and working on his family?s cattle ranch outside of Helena, Montana, Ralph Beer has gathered his best magazine essays into one collection called In These Hills. In thirty-three essays he provides a moving and elegiac tribute to lives now passed, an often humorous homage to the provincial, and an attempt ?to fathom the place where we live . . . to decipher who we are,? as he writes in his introduction. Beer, praised as one of the finest writers in the West, offers an authentic literary voice paired with a lifetime spent exploring a particularly beloved piece of land. From his first experience with a wheat harvest, to the winter rebuilding of a 1947 Dodge Power Wagon, to his moving exploration of an old family mystery, these essays slice sharply under the sod of our embedded romanticism, exploring not only the brute hardships of a living made from cattle ranching but the inextricable satisfaction of it as well. As Beer himself says in the final pages of this collection, "Stories outshine instruments of gold. Stories outlast stone."
 

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User Review  - TimBazzett - LibraryThing

I was simply blown away by Beer's way with words, by his ability to describe a hillside, an empty corral, the ruins of an old homestead, horsemanship, riding motorcycles - you name it, it's all so ... Read full review

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Contents

THE BIG DUSTY
3
CITY LIMITS
8
AS A NORTH WIND WORKS THE DRIFTS
13
COMING INTO THE COUNTRY
17
SEEDS OF DISCONTENT
24
ALL WE CAN STAND OF HELL
28
APOLOGIES TO ED ABBEY
32
ALL THE WAY HOME
38
WHOSE WOODS THESE ARE
88
MOVING FENCE AT CASTLE ROCK
92
PARTNERS
97
ROLLING STOCK
105
AFTER THE HONEYMOON
110
BLOODLINES
114
COUNTRY BOYS
119
HIGHER EDUCATION UNEXPECTED TURNS AND GOOD FASHION SENSE
124

CARRIED AWAY
42
STORMS
47
A REBIRTH OF WONDER IN THE REGENESIS OF SIGNIFICANT STEEL
55
GOLDEN DAYS
61
KILLING THINGS
66
LABORS OF THE FALL
70
AT THE BRIDGE
74
THAT FAMOUS HORSE HE RODE
79
BALANCING WATER
85
SECOND WIND
128
SILVER
131
WHEN A HORSEMAN RIDES BY
135
ALL OVER AGAIN
141
THE LAST BUFFALO
154
PICKING ROCKS
156
FALL FENCING
161
AT REST
166
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About the author (2003)

Ralph Beer has worked as a ranch hand, swamper, clerk, cannon cocker, logger, heavy equipment operator, battery rat, carpenter, and whiskey taster. He and his wife, Maggie, recently sold the Howard Beer Ranch and have gone on to other things, though they dearly miss their cows. Beer is the author of the Spur Award?winning novel The Blind Corral, and his essays have been included in the anthologies The Last Best Place and Montana Spaces.

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