The Modern West Exploring the evolving identity of the American West.
The Modern West

The Modern West

From Wyoming Public Radio

Exploring the evolving identity of the American West.

Most Recent Episodes

Bust Town: Ghost Town(ing) Part 2

Why are we so fascinated by old ghost towns? And what can they teach us? We go looking for the ghosts of an old silver mining community called Teller City to see if they have any lessons for how the nearby town of Walden, Colorado can keep from falling into the same cycles of boom and bust.

"You Can't Eat The View": Ghost Town(ing) Part 1

Years ago, small towns like Walden, Colorado were vibrant. Street dances, a health food store, a movie theatre, the works. At least, that's how host Melodie Edwards remembers it from her childhood. Now it's shrinking, part of the "ghost towning" of the American West. But can communities like Walden find a way to survive? Or will Melodie's parents be forced to move away, like so many others?

Season 2: Ghost Town(ing) Trailer

They say those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. So what can Old West ghost towns teach us about today's shrinking rural towns? Starting September 16, we'll take you to the windswept prairie where towns once stood and to new ghost towns in the making. We're exploring rural decline and resilience, and asking, why does it matter if America's small towns disappear?

The Small-Town Drag Queen

It wasn't easy growing up queer in small-town Wyoming. And when Taylar went to college in Laramie, an assault left her in pieces...until she found community with Giselle and the Dragonettes. Follow them as they head to the big city for a David Bowie drag competition.

A Walk Across The Prairie

When Emily Chen-Newton moved to Nebraska, she was worried she'd miss her Kentucky mountains. But then she walked a long section of the new Great Plains Trail and realized her new home was a more magical place than she gave it credit for. And not so flat either.

The Rancher And The Wild

Albert Sommers is a rancher who thought he'd seen it all. When he found a mysteriously dead calf, he started wondering: how wild should our wild places be?

Coming Soon To A Feed Near You...

A preview of our summer mini-season: three episodes that take you deep into the real West to meet people thinking hard about the future of this place. Predators, prairie, and pots of glitter.

Episode 10: The Widower

Bob was devastated when his wife died of cancer. He'd been her main caregiver, and afterward, he realized that now he had to face his old age alone. No kids, no family nearby. And living in the West, he started worrying about how inaccessible senior care could be. That's when his gallows humor took over. (more...)

Episode 9: What You're Missing About Coal Country

Once upon a time, coal miners took pride in the hard work they did. But these days the coal industry is sluggish and miners are feeling left behind—even disrespected—by the world. What they want most now is to just figure out how to hold on to the strong community that coal once gave them. (more...)

Episode 8: The Man From Lodge Grass

Quincy Dabney loved growing up in Lodge Grass on the Crow Reservation in Montana. But then, just like him, it started falling apart. Now Quincy is working to save the hometown that saved him. (more...)

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