Storytelling in Yellowstone
Horse and Buggy Tour Guides
Published by: University of New Mexico Press
391 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in, 36 halftones, 1 map
- 9780826341174 | March 2007
Long before snowmobiles, paved roads, and SUVs were introduced into Yellowstone National Park, a myriad of companies offered buggy and stage rides through the Park, with their drivers telling stories to their passengers. Some of these stories had no basis in fact, especially those attributed to "Indian legends," but others came from the early trappers and fur traders and were as informational as they were entertaining.
Lee Whittlesey, Yellowstone National Park historian, has devoted years of research to these pre-1920 stories told by the Park's "tour guides," or interpreters. He includes the campfire stories of the traders and trappers, Yellowstone as it was portrayed in early photos and movies, the first group of Yellowstone guidebooks written, and the "fool tenderfoot questions" posed by the late nineteenth-century tourists. Whittlesey devotes chapters to the first two National Park interpreters, Philetus "Windy" Norris and G. L. Henderson. Each had his own style of delivery and each awed his respective tour groups. And, finally, there are the stagecoach drivers who chauffeured the public over Yellowstone's dirt roads and engaged their passengers with tales of the great Geyserland.
Today's National Park Service has taken over the duties of the "horse and buggy tour guides" but private and concessioner tour guides also share Yellowstone National Park's many stories.
All author proceeds from this book are being donated to the National Park Service.