Two-Buck Chuck and The Marlboro Man: The New Old West: Essays
A personal portrayal of rural and small-town Westerners adhering to Old West values while resisting or assimilating to New West global realities. Drawing from his San Joaquin Valley childhood, a career devoted to studying the West, and attentive interviews with a wide range of ethnically diverse people from the greater area, Bergen presents an intimate portrait of an Old West in conflict with the New, and traces the way traditional values-the code of the cowboy, the work ethic of the farmers-sometimes clash with and at other times adjust to a changing world. Set in California's Great Central Valley, the book offers a personal portrayal of rural and small-town Westerners, several with ties to Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, Oklahoma, and Texas, but all shaped as was the author by California's Great Valley. All are immigrants, migrants, their children, or grandchildren whose lives intertwine with the author's-rich, poor, and in-between, as well as those of several races and ethnicities: Chicanos, Mexicans, African Americans, Italians, Asians, Native Americans, Scots-Irish descendants of Steinbeck's Okies, and Basques of the author's own heritage.