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Always a Cowboy: Judge Wilson McCarthy and the Rescue of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
by Will Bagley
Utah State University Press, 2008
eISBN: 978-0-87421-716-2 | Cloth: 978-0-87421-715-5
Library of Congress Classification KF373.M394B34 2008
Dewey Decimal Classification 385.092


Cowboy, judge, federal official, then business executive, Wilson McCarthy mirrored change and growth in the twentieth-century West. Leading the Denver & Rio Grande back from the brink saved a vital link in the national transportation system. The D&RGW ran over and through the scenic Rockies, developing mineral resources, fighting corporate wars, and helping build communities. The Depression brought it to its knees. Accepting federal assignment to save the line, McCarthy turned it into a paragon of mid-century railroading, represented by the streamlined, Vista-Domed California Zephyr, although success hauling freight was of more economic importance. Prior to that, McCarthy’s life had taken him from driving livestock in Canada to trying to drive the national economy as a director of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, the first line of federal attack on the Depression. Always a Cowboy positions McCarthy’s story in a rich historical panorama..

Will Bagley is the author of Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows

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