In the great Western novel Lonesome Dove, author Larry McMurtry's two protagonists, Woodrow Call and Augustus McCrae go into San Antonio to find a cook to replace the one who has quit, having had more than enough of their quixotic cattle drive from Texas to Montana. They are surprised at what they find. In their days as young Texas Rangers, San Antone was a wild place. But now it's become like every other town, with too many people and too little of the old excitement. Gus says, "We'll be the Indians if we last another twenty years. The way this place is settling up, it'll be nothing but churches and dry-goods stores before you know it. Next thing you know, they'll have to round up us old rowdies and stick us on a reservation to keep us from scaring the ladies." As I drive from one wellpad to another, trying to figure out where we are by checking the legal descriptions on the locations, I think I know how he felt. There are trucks going full bore north, south, east and west but not a soul here knows or cares where our camp was back 30 years ago. None of them know or care about the old man or the store or the sage grouse and deer we used to hunt here. I think perhaps my time and my place here in this part of Wyoming is gone.
Maybe Gus was right. Maybe they ought to just round us up, us old rowdies who were here so long ago. They could load us up on a little bus every so often and take us out to fish in the park or maybe to a baseball game. That way we wouldn't have time to sit and think about what we've lost. We wouldn't be frightening the ladies or the oil companies with our talk of what once was, what might have been and what still could be. But like Woodrow Call, I doubt that's going to happen. I suspect we'll keep right on doing what we're doing now, and old men like me and the cowboy poet Wally McRae will be left with the thoughts he expresses so well in his poem "Things of Intrinsic Worth":
Great God, how we're doin'! We're rollin' in dough,