Cover image for Fool's gold : lives, loves, and misadventures in the Four Corners country
Fool's gold : lives, loves, and misadventures in the Four Corners country
Schultheis, Rob.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Lyons Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
viii, 232 pages ; 24 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F784.T44 S38 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



From the author of The Hidden West comes a remarkable new collection of essays on America's last great frontiers. Telluride, Colorado, is a seven-hour drive from Denver and in the heart of the Four Corners, the only place in America where four states (Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona) meet one another. Known for droughts, cloudbursts, massive snow piles, and 14,000-plus-foot mountains, Telluride is also a place where cultures collide. When Rob Schultheis arrived in Telluride in 1973, his first home was a tarpaper sheepherder's shack, and Telluride was a sleepy, remote mining town where local families had lived for generations, where officially extinct wolverines and grizzly bears were still seen roaming the countryside. Today Telluride is regarded as a second home to skiers. With wit and insight, Schultheis chronicles the changing face of the once-remote regions of the West and their sometimes reluctant journey into the mainstream.He tells tales of the landscape, the newcomers, and the locals: the town doctor who chases UFOs in a single-engine Cessna, the sinister magic of desert ghosts, a Navajo rock band that covers old Elvis Presley songs, as well as his own job as a welder at the Dickensian Pandora's mine, and the wild goings-on when cabin fever sets in among the recently arrived (himself included).

Author Notes

Rob Schultheis is also the author of The Hidden West. His writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Outside, and National Geographic Traveler, among other publications

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

No part of the Old West has resisted the advance of civilization more than the San Juan Mountains in the southwest corner of the Rockies, where Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico come together. In this lively exploration of the region, Schultheis finds its spirit of adventure--and lawlessness--still vigorous and defiant. From his home base in Telluride, Colorado, the author ranges far in this rugged land, from the towering peaks of Red Cliff and El Diente, to the haunting Anasazi ruins in the arid gorges of Utah, to the treacherous slit canyons of Arizona. The people he encounters in his travels rival the landscape in their raw energy and stubborn unpredictability: the woodcutter who cuts off his hand, then coolly puts it in his pocket; the archaeologist who abandons her dig to escape from a ghost. With a style as untamed as his subject, Schultheis takes readers deep into a land he loves yet refuses to sentimentalize. --Bryce Christensen

Publisher's Weekly Review

Some 30 years ago, a powerful longing and a less powerful old VW bus drove Green activist Schultheis (The Hidden West) to the then-sleepy mountain town of Telluride, Colo., a breathtaking place that would soon succumb to the playground visions of developers and the very wealthy. But not entirely, as he testifies, and not without a fight. The San Juan Mountains are armed with "tricky dicky" weather and mischievous wild animals, and "the avalanche chutes are locked and loaded." Stories with subjects as varied as restless desert and mountain ghosts and visitations by enormous owls and mountain lions abound. With humor and awe, Schultheis's essays celebrate the lay and lore of the land as well as its colorful denizens, from good outlaws to naughty lawmen, from land-blasting newcomers to mountain squatters, Navahos, Utes and hippies trying to halt gentrification. Even Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid show up, hitting their first bank in "To-hell-you-ride." While this is more a local memoir than a travel guide, Schultheis eloquently describes several area excursions, including a bone-tiring yet renewing rafting trip with his wife down the soupy summertime river: "We haven't seen another human being in nine days.... The San Juan Canyon has been our entire world, and the two of us the whole human race." This warmhearted book will not only amuse, but will leave readers pondering the concepts of "progress" and "development," and aching for a light-footed pilgrimage of their own. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

When Schultheis arrived in Telluride, CO, in 1973, Telluride was a remote mining settlement in the heart of Four Corners County the place where Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona meet. Today Telluride is an exclusive ski resort that has undergone a remarkable transformation. Schultheis, the author of The Hidden West and a writer for the Washington Post, National Geographic Traveler, and Outside magazine, has written a colorful but often uneven account of this unique region's history. Arranging chapters thematically (e.g., "Hardrock Days," "Ghost Stories," and "Tall Tales"), Schultheis often interweaves his own experiences with town legends and descriptions of the natural world. His writing is bare and earthy, giving a sense of a rough frontier town. The stories, however, range in interest as well as quality some are noticeably more difficult to read through than others. Although this book may be of interest to some local communities, it is not recommended for wider purchase. Alison Hopkins, Queens Borough P.L., Jamaica, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Going Up the Countryp. 1
The Lay of the Landp. 15
The Goldsworthy Shackp. 23
Hardrock Daysp. 27
The Sweetest Timep. 35
Law and Order, San Juan-Stylep. 43
Disappointment Valleyp. 51
The Black Bookp. 57
Cabin Feverp. 61
Mountain Womenp. 71
Killers of the Dreamp. 87
Ghost Storiesp. 97
San Juan Miraclesp. 105
Summertimep. 109
Rock of Agesp. 119
The Great American Undergroundp. 129
I Know It's Only Rock & Roll, but Nizhoni'!p. 137
Sacred Watersp. 145
The Last Jew in Oiltownp. 161
Tall Talesp. 167
Running the Rockiesp. 177
Dancing in Circular Timep. 181
Tenderfoot Bluesp. 185
Flammulated Owlp. 191
Beaver Pondp. 197
Winter's Talep. 209
The Blue Lightp. 217
Home Sweet Mountain Homep. 231