Seldom Seen: A Journey into the Great Plains

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-11-01
  • Publisher: Univ of Nebraska Pr
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In May 1995, with nothing but a backpack and a vague sense of disquiet, Patrick Dobson left his home and a steady if deadening job in Kansas City, Missouri. Over the next two and a half months he made his way to Helena, Montana, letting chance encounters guide him to a deeper sense of who he was and where he was going. His chronicle of this journey charts his experiences with the seldom-seen people of the small towns, the far-flung outposts, and the Great Plains that make up "our America." Beginning as a seeker, Dobson becomes a faithful recorder of other people's search for contentment, introducing us to a firefighter with a farm at the end of the world, a fiery Christian conservative, a man sharing a van with a crowd of cats, a former circus carny who's found the secret to living life, and a homeless Native American offering a special and enduring gift. Ridden out of a hostile Kansas town, sniffed by bears, confronted by bison and recalcitrant moose, Dobson cannot help but see how land, sky, weather, and a world of circumstances influence people. Against the majestic sweep of the open plains and endless horizon, his story is one of hope and desperation, richness and simplicitya portrait of who we are in the heartland of America.

Author Biography

Patrick Dobson is a freelance writer, former journalist, and working member of Ironworkers Local Union no. 10 in Kansas City, Missouri. He is pursuing his doctorate in U.S. environmental history and American literature at the University of Missouri–Kansas City.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
A Leap into the Prairie Seap. 1
"I'm going to Helena, Montana"p. 9
"Don't worry, kid, you'll be all right"p. 18
"It's the best you're gonna find here"p. 37
"You'll find everything you need there"p. 53
The Jimsp. 68
"It's better to try something and apologize later"p. 85
"Mostly, you go to the river and get drunk"p. 98
"You're a damn fool if you spend all your time worrying about what you ain't got"p. 108
"I want to meet people, not shoot them"p. 122
"Life ain't easy, but it ain't always tough"p. 137
"Probably wouldn'ta killed you, but it woulda hurt"p. 147
"People seldom seen by the rest of the world"p. 168
"If we wait long enough, white men'll go away"p. 186
"Now you know, and that's somethin'"p. 203
"It's not all about you"p. 214
"Walk quietly in any direction"p. 229
"That'll get you anywhere you want to go"p. 252
"You'll get to the other side"p. 263
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