Despite the thinness of its human thread — connected in long ribbons of highway — the thing holds together. This state of a half-million people, the least populous in the Union, stays rooted through the dirt and rock, oil and coal, livestock and hay, mountains and rivers and communities. There’s interconnectivity — everyone knows someone that knows you — and there’s isolation — the vastness of a state classified as more than 91 percent rural. There’s also an expectation that there’s something more native to this place, something viscerally connected, something that will draw you into a proper awareness of what it is to be a human being.
You hear this from the locals — that this place, this expanse of land lightly dusted with people, is a place where you find yourself. After time spent in the middle of this squat, rectangular state riddled with enough topographical diversity to belie its four straight borders, you should know something more about what it means to be a man among big landscapes, animals, peoples. And so, we set out to see what we’d find in the rodeos, ranches, roadside diners, backcountry campsites, bars and breweries, rivers and mountains, and ourselves. We set out to find how the west can help define a man — the rugged landscape carving a relief of who you are, intrinsically, deeply. Man as self-sustaining being. Man as member of tribe. Man in relation to the animals he’s mastered — and those he cannot. Man as he fits within the wildness that is the west. – Matthew Ankeny