Longreads

Feature |
September 30, 2011

Non-Prophet

When Warren Jeffs fired his attorneys and decided to represent himself in his sexual assault trial, many predicted, accurately, that he would fail miserably. Few realized just what a wild show he would put on.

9/11 |
August 31, 2011

Karen Wagner’s Life

She lived outside the spotlight, quietly serving her country as most members of the military do, until one terrible day.

The Culture |
July 31, 2011

Cowgirl Up

The word probably makes you think of rhinestone-studded jeans, floppy-brimmed hats, and Nashville queens, but “cowgirl” ought to stand for the tough pioneer women who built ranches and went on cattle drives and the hardy rural women who are out there today doing their fair share of the work, usually invisibly,

Food & Drink |
June 30, 2011

Do I Dare to Eat a Peach?

As a kid I was the pickiest eater you have ever seen, and family meals gave new meaning to the words “food fight.” But I gritted my teeth and overcame it—one disgusting tomato at a time.

Feature |
May 31, 2011

Mind Games

Baylor College of Medicine neuroscientist David Eagleman is out to change the way we think about guilt and innocence (and time and novels and, well, neuroscientists). Can he pull it off?

Feature |
May 31, 2011

Falling Comet

In 1955 Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” transformed the sound of popular music and made him an international star. Twenty-five years later he was forgotten, desperate, and dying in Harlingen. How did one of the fathers of rock and roll land so far outside the spotlight?

Feature |
March 31, 2011

Tusk!

For as long as I can remember, I've been fascinated by mammoths, those giant, prehistoric creatures that once roamed Texas. So I decided to go looking for them.

Crime |
March 31, 2010

The Lost Girls

Every year thousands of women are smuggled into the United States and forced to work as prostitutes. Many of them end up in Houston, in massage parlors and spas. Most of them will have a hard time ever getting out.

Buddy Holly |
February 1, 2009

The Night the Music Died

Fifty years ago, a plane carrying Buddy Holly crashed in a remote Iowa cornfield. This month, hundreds of fans will gather at the ballroom where he played his final show to sing, dance, and mourn the greatest rock star ever to come out of Texas.

Film & TV |
September 30, 2008

Dude!

Yes, yes, new baby and new movie— but what Matthew McConaughey really wants to talk about is the cushion of the flip-flop, the skooching of hoodie sleeves, the proper thickness of koozies, and his coming career as the arbiter of redneck-Buddha chic.

Feature |
October 31, 2007

The Glorie of Defeet

What Samir Patel learned in five years of not winning the national spelling bee (other than the root words of “eremacausis”).

Texas History |
August 31, 2007

A Lady First

Today, many younger Texans may be inclined to think of Lady Bird Johnson as belonging entirely to the past. But if her demeanor and style seemed faintly anachronistic, the virtues instilled by her parents back in East Texas—practicality, thriftiness, good manners, and an open mind—made her remarkably effective as a

Feature |
May 31, 2006

The Truth Is Out There

Spoiler alert: The mythic Marfa lights may not be real. But there’s no way to know for sure, and that’s why they’re cool.

True Crime |
February 1, 2006

A Kiss Before Dying

Forty-five years after Betty Williams was shot to death by the handsome football player she had been secretly seeing, her murder haunts her Odessa high school—literally.

Sports |
September 30, 2005

Six Brothers

The tragedy of the Von Erichs—the state’s first family of pro wrestling—is well known not just to fans of the sport but to the many groupies who oohed and aahed at the matinee-idol athletes over the years. Still, you haven’t really heard the story until it’s told by the sole

News & Politics |
September 30, 2005

Flipping Out

The letter-sweater-wearing, pom-pom-shaking, pep-rally-leading girl next door has been a beloved Texas icon for generations. So why do so many people today— lawmakers and lawyers, preachers and feminists—think cheerleading is the root, root, root of all evil?

True Crime |
August 31, 2005

Girls Gone Wild

Bobbi Jo and Jennifer were young, in love, and on the road, with the wind at their backs and a happy future ahead of them. All that stood in their way was a dead body back in Mineral Wells.

Film & TV |
November 1, 2004

They Came. They Sawed.

And they most definitely conquered. The inside story of how a ragtag bunch of hippies made the wildest Texas movie ever (and spilled no more fake blood than was absolutely necessary).

Feature |
August 31, 2004

Reversal of Fortune

Eight years ago, 42 people in the West Texas town of Roby—7 percent of the population—pooled their money, bought lottery tickets, and won $46 million. And that's when their luck ran out.

Politics & Policy |
April 30, 2004

Cast Away

For Sharon Bush, membership in the world's most powerful family had its privileges. But as she discovered after her husband of 23 years—the brother of one president and the son of another—ended their marriage via e-mail, it can be revoked without warning.

Sports |
March 1, 2004

Good-bye to a Horse

She named him Mark. I didn’t know why, any more than I knew why my daughter was drawn to riding in the first place. But I did know that she loved him—and that letting him go was the hardest thing she’d ever done.

March 1, 2004

Conversations With a Grasshopper

To experience the majesty and peril of the desert on my own terms, I spent a week alone in the Solitario, the most remote area of Big Bend Ranch State Park. I confronted my darkest fears—and made small talk with an insect.

Texas History |
January 1, 2004

Showdown at Waggoner Ranch

It’s the nation’s biggest spread within the confines of a single fence—more than eight hundred square miles extending across six counties. So it’s fitting that the family feud over its future is big too. And mythic.

Feature |
February 1, 2003

Queen for a Day

At this year's Miss Texas Teen USA pageant, girls from big cities and small towns stuffed their bras, slicked Vaseline across their teeth, and prayed that their thighs were toned enough. Anything for the crown.

Politics & Policy |
December 1, 2002

The Secret History

Did Richard King cheat his partner's heirs out of a chunk of the King Ranch nearly 120 years ago? He may have—and if the Texas Supreme Court permits Chapman v. King Ranch, Inc., to go to trial, the past could come back to haunt the state's most storied spread.

Politics & Policy |
November 1, 2002

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

Once upon a time, the Central Texas town of Crawford was like Mayberry: Everyone knew everyone, no one talked politics, and the air was ripe with the aroma of hogs. Then the leader of the free world bought a little place west of the Middle Bosque River, and nothing was

True Crime |
June 30, 2002

A Bend in the River

In 1996 the body of a cheerleader from a small town in Oklahoma was found on the Texas side of the Red River. She had been raped and shot. The brutal crime destroyed several families and the illusions of an isolated slice of the world.

Music |
December 1, 2001

A Long, Strange Trip

The life of Roky Erickson——one of the most influential Texas rock and rollers of all time——has been one calamity after another. His family and friends have taken care of him with the best of intentions, but you know what they say about the road to hell.

Business |
November 1, 2001

How Enron Blew It

The Houston-based energy giant put the pursuit of profits ahead of all other corporate goals, which fostered a climate of workaholism and paranoia. And that was only part of the problem.

The Culture |
July 31, 2001

Queen of the Rodeo

For teenage girls in the Hill Country town of Llano, life can be short on glamour and excitement—except at the annual rodeo, when one of them gets a rhinestone tiara and a rare, thrilling moment of glory.

Arts & Entertainment |
February 1, 2001

The Whole Shootin’ Match

The most famous bank-robbing lovers of all time weren't nearly as glamorous as Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty. Although the fragile, pretty Bonnie Parker had her good points, Clyde Barrow was a scrawny, two-timing psychopath. They were straight out of a country and western ballad. And when they died in

Arts & Entertainment |
November 1, 2000

They Haven’t Got a Prayer

In the Gulf Coast town of Santa Fe, high school football games had always kicked off with a prayer, but in June the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the practice violated the separation of church and state. Now the issue—which has turned neighbor against neighbor and provoked some decidedly un-Christian

Music |
April 30, 2000

Gotta Lubbock

Buddy Holly. Waylon Jennings. Carolyn Hester. The Hancocks. The Flatlanders. An oral history of the state's most storied music scene.

Feature |
April 1, 2000

The Sins of the Father

For Tom Cherry, the precise place where loyalty to his dad ends and a larger obligation to society begins lies deep in the woods of East Texas, at the intersection of history and conscience, where the truth about a church bombing during the struggle for civil rights in the South

Ranching |
July 31, 1998

When We Were Kings

For the first time in its history, the world-famous King Ranch is being run by someone other than a descendant of its founder. Can the mythic institution survive a changing of the guard?

Politics & Policy |
June 30, 1998

President Bush?

He’s the front-runner even before he has officially entered the race, but sky-high expectations are the least of the obstacles George W. Bush faces in his quest for the White House.

The Texas Rangers |
March 1, 1998

The Last Posse

After thieves stole his daughter’s horse, deputy U.S. marshal Parnell McNamara didn’t make a federal case out of it. Instead, he rounded up a group of old-style lawmen and lit out after them.