A comprehensive examination that accurately portrays the fascination and legends of the American West.

By Lynn Downey ‧ RELEASE DATE: Feb. 15, 2022

Lynn Downey

Exploring the history and cultural impact of dude ranches, a historian delves into the phenomenon of wealthy Americans and Europeans flocking to the West in the late 19th and 20th centuries. This was due to the existence of these locations, which served as entry points into the West for neophytes. The book examines the history of dude ranches and their influence on American culture through travel posters, novels, television and film. The author, Downey, has an understanding of the power of advertising and provides insightful analyses of Western popular culture and visual media.

American West

The book is written in an accessible style and is supported by more than 150 endnotes, as well as photographs, posters, and postcards. Although dude ranches were intended to be “white spaces”, Downey argues that they were also hubs of diversity. She highlights the experiences of Jews, Native Americans, Mexicans, Black people, women, and queer people, such as Black and Indigenous men competing in early rodeos and gay men working at dude ranches. Gay vacationers, she says, often registered as “friends” who “shared their cabins, with apparently no one the wiser.” This book is a captivating read that effectively combines an engaging writing style with solid research.

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Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2022
ISBN: 9780806180229

Page Count: 242
Publisher: OUP

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2023