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The Cruel Country

June 02, 1985

Re the "Charles Hillinger's America" article on Wyoming ("Home on Range in the Cowboy State," May 19): I don't know why Hillinger concentrated on the cowboy life style in his article on Wyoming, but it's certainly a lot more romantic than that of the grimy, smelly oil rig workers who also populate the Cowboy State.

It's cruel country, where the winters are ferocious (I moved out last Christmas between snowstorms), but the summers are delectable. The antelope roam freely on the outskirts of Casper, and as one drives through this wide-open state, one is struck with the notion that roughly 90% of Wyoming is exactly as it was 100, 200 years ago--barren, wind-swept desert, complemented by a big, brilliant, almost smothering sky.

It's a land that claimed untold lives along the Oregon Trail, which left its own mark in the form of wagon wheel ruts permanently embedded in the unforgiving soil.

Finally, Wyoming is truly the last vestige of the Old West. Its inhabitants exhibit the rugged, often stubborn individualism that characterized the pioneers. And, despite their deep conservatism, forthright racism and shortsightedness about Wyoming's future, these people can never be accused of being unpatriotic. They truly are the last Westerners.

CARISSA HOWLAND

Tucson

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