Longreads

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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.

Music |
March 1, 1997

A Star Is Reborn

A year after Kris Kristofferson’s standout role in Lone Star, Hollywood is still marveling over his comeback. He is too. by Gary Cartwright…

Film & TV |
July 31, 1996

His Time to Kill

He shone in Lone Star; now he’s thrilling ’em in A Time to Kill. How talent and timing made native Texan Matthew McConaughey Hollywood’s hottest leading man.

True Crime |
June 30, 1996

Poisoning Daddy

No one ever suspected a thing until she asked her best friend if she could keep a terrible secret: the bizarre story of teenager Marie Robards, the devoted daughter who murdered her father.

Music |
May 31, 1996

Junior Achievement

Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Jerry Jeff Walker—and now Junior Brown? The former community college teacher is the latest outlaw to hijack Texas country music, and he may be the greatest.

Feature |
August 6, 1995

Silicone City

From invention to litigation, the breast implant has done more for Houston’s economy—and its psyche—than anything since oil.

Business |
April 30, 1995

Are Texans Gun Crazy?

During the first week of April, as the Legislature considered the case for concealed weapons, Texas mourned the consequences of two gun-related tragedies in Corpus Christi: the murder of Tejano superstar Selena Quintanilla Perez and the shooting of five workers at a refinery inspection company by a…

Feature |
December 1, 1993

The Old Man And the Tee

How 89-year-old Harvey Penick turned life’s lessons into a best-selling book—and followed it up with another master stroke.

True Crime |
April 30, 1993

See No Evil

Dallas police say Charles Albright is the coldest, most depraved killer of women in the city’s history. To me, he seems like a perfect gentleman. Maybe too perfect.

Feature |
September 30, 1992

O Janis

Janis Joplin’s life was about music, rebellion, and excess—but she was influenced most by her tormented relationship with the people and spirit of Port Arthur.

Feature |
April 1, 1992

The Killer Next Door

For six years, my landlord and his wife were the perfect neighbors. Then he was accused of murdering her—and suddenly I didn’t know what to believe.

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March 1, 1991

The Greek Way

Are good times and fun pranks giving way to racial slurs and ritualized violence? An inside look at UT’s fraternity row.

Sports |
November 1, 1989

Can’t Win for Losing

When San Antonio’s Memorial Minutemen took on a crosstown rival, all they had to lose was their chance to go down in history as Texas’ worst high school football team.

Feature |
May 31, 1989

The Work of The Devil

The disappearance of a University of Texas student in Matamoros led police to the discovery of a drug-dealing cult whose rituals were not only unholy but unthinkable.

Feature |
April 30, 1989

Poisoned With Love

They were elderly people, flattered by the attention of a nice young man. But sometimes it’s a mistake to depend on the kindness of strangers.