Badluck Way: A Year on the Ragged Edge of the West (Paperback)
Indie Next ListJanuary 2014
Andrews spent a year on an 18,000-acre ranch in Montana that was touted as being committed to the well being of the land, livestock, and wildlife. All goes well in his rugged new life until wolves begin their relentless plundering of the summer herds. In a heartbreaking meditation on life, ethics, animal rights, and conservation, Andrews struggles to keep his herding responsibilities and his fascination for the wolves in balance. Passages in which he channels the wolves are truly haunting, suggestive of a kinship that presages his anguish as he is required to brutally eliminate one of them. This is an elegant, lyrical account of a sensitive, conservation-minded cowboy in the American West of the 21st century. -- Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT
"Much more than a coming-of-age story, "Badluck Way" is an important meditation on what it means to share space and breathe the same air as truly wild animals, and the necessary damage that can occur when boundaries are crossed" (Tom Groneberg, author of "The Secret Life of Cowboys").
In this gripping memoir of a young man, a wolf, their parallel lives and ultimate collision, Bryce Andrews describes life on the remote, windswept Sun Ranch in southwest Montana. The Sun's twenty thousand acres of rangeland occupy a still-wild corner of southwest Montana--a high valley surrounded by mountain ranges and steep creeks with portentous names like Grizzly and Bad Luck. Just over the border from Yellowstone National Park, the Sun holds giant herds of cattle and elk amid many predators--bears, mountain lions, and wolves.
In lyrical, haunting language, Andrews recounts marathon days and nights of building fences, riding, roping, and otherwise learning the hard business of caring for cattle, an initiation that changes him from an idealistic city kid into a skilled ranch hand. But when wolves suddenly begin killing the ranch's cattle, Andrews has to shoulder a rifle, chase the pack, and do what he'd hoped he would never have to do.
Called "an elegant memoir" by the "Great Falls Tribune," "Badluck Way" is about transformation and complications, about living with dirty hands every day. It is about the hard choices that wake us at night and take a lifetime to reconcile. Above all, "Badluck Way" celebrates the breathtaking beauty of wilderness and the satisfaction of hard work on some of the harshest, most beautiful land in the world.