Badluck Way: A Year on the Ragged Edge of the West (Hardcover)
January 2014 Indie Next List
“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
The gripping memoir of a young man, a wolf, their parallel lives and ultimate collision, "Badluck Way" is also an ode to the satisfaction of hard work on some of the wildest and most beautiful land in the world.
Mine might have been a simple, pretty story, if not for the wolves. In late July, they emerged from the foothills . . .
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, Dead Man, 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.
"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. Called an important meditation on what it means to share space and breathe the same air as truly wild animals (Tom Groneberg, author of "The Secret Life of Cowboys"), "Badluck Way" is the memorable story of one young man's rebirth in the crucible of the West's timeless landscape, a place at the center of the heart's geography, savage and gorgeous in equal measure.