Lone Pine, California, October 2007. Photo (c) Ruth Ellen Gruber
A BBC correspondent draws on his youthful fascination with the Wild West to write a report on present-day cowboys.
...there are still cowboys all over the West, from North Dakota down to New Mexico, partly because there is still some rugged terrain where the horse remains the best way of getting around.Read (or listen to) full report
But it is also partly because the cowboy embodies many of the characteristics which Americans see as part of their identity - the tough, self-reliant figure riding alone who tamed the unconquerable wilderness from which America drew its wealth.
How much longer that lifestyle will survive on the ranch rather than the tourist heritage park is hard to say, of course.
But not for the first time, the cowboy finds himself staring towards a far horizon, wondering what challenges lie beyond it.