American West •  Environment and History

$19.95 hardcover

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Storytelling in Yellowstone: Horse and Buggy Tour Guides

Lee Whittlesey

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.


Lee H. Whittlesey is the historian for Yellowstone National Park and the author or editor of numerous books including Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park; Myth and History in the Creation of Yellowstone National Park; and A Yellowstone Album: a Photographic Celebration of the First National Park.


" Storytelling in Yellowstone is a treasury sure to appeal to scholars and lay readers alike."


Midwest Book Review

"...a vivid and colorful contribution to the history of Yellowstone's formative period."


Western Historical Quarterly

"...a wonderful book to have on your shelf..."


Roundup Magazine

"Those who love Yellowstone will want to add this to their personal library."


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal

"Whittlesey's deep attachment to Yellowstone is obvious in the depth of his research and his care with details."


Montana the Magazine of Western History

"Although we know the critical forces that brought Yellowstone National Park into being, it remains vital to know the culture within the park. For that, and for adding creatively to his previous Yellowstone writings, Whittlesey is entitled to take a bow."


New Mexico Historical Review

6 x 9 in. 392 pages 37 halftones, 1 maps