I became a storyteller in the usual way--by listening to and reading stories, in particular stories of the history, lore, and legend of the American West. Growing up on the big open ranges of the Crow Indian Reservation in southeastern Montana, my heroes were cowboys of the old school. I loved everything about them. As a kid, I followed my bow-legged role models around, got in their way, pestered them with questions, and disobeyed my mother's strict orders not to hang out at the bunkhouse.
As for the cowpunchers themselves, they were surprisingly tolerant, pretending they did more...