West Texas

Afraid of Losing the Dark

Jan 9, 2014 By Sonia Smith

The McDonald Observatory, celebrating its seventy-fifth anniversary this year, forges ahead with groundbreaking research and crusades to keep the night skies of West Texas pristine and unadulterated.

What Is Art?

Oct 21, 2013 By Francesca Mari

When Playboy Enterprises—yes, that Playboy Enterprises—erected a forty-foot-tall sculpture near Marfa, it was convinced the town would appreciate its take on the local art scene. Instead it started a revealing debate.

texanist barbecue
The Texanist

Oct 14, 2013 By David Courtney

How do a husband and wife resolve backyard barbecuing duties? Illustration by Jack Unruh Q: My wife has recently taken a keen interest in my backyard barbecuing duties. In fact, last weekend she asked me if I wanted her to start cooking the beans from…

When the Sky Ran Dry

Jan 21, 2013 By John Burnett

Bad as the current drought is, it has yet to match the most arid spell in Texas history. Nearly two dozen survivors of the fifties drought remember the time it never rained.

The Writing on the Wall

Jan 21, 2013 By Roger D. Hodge

The Lower Pecos River rock paintings were created four thousand years ago by a long-forgotten people. But their apparent message may be as useful today as it was then: Follow the water.

Home on the Range?

Jan 21, 2013 By Nate Blakeslee

Texas Parks and Wildlife has embarked on an ambitious plan to restore the desert bighorn sheep population in Big Bend Ranch State Park. To accomplish this goal, the department has had to make hard choices about which animals live, which animals die, and what truly belongs in the Trans-Pecos.

Choose Your Own Texas Adventure

Sep 6, 2012 By Jordan Breal

  When it comes to traveling around the state, it's easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of destinations to choose from. One of the things I love most about Texas is that you can drive a few hours (or more than a few hours) in one direction and be at, say, the beach and then head another direction and find yourself in the mountains or in the rolling Hill Country or in the Piney Woods. For the last several years, a few of my colleagues and I have been visiting small towns and exploring interesting areas of big cities in search of noteworthy things to do, see, and eat. Here's a cheat sheet guide to what you can expect to find in a few of the places we've singled out across the state recently . . . 

Marathon: Get Outta Town

Aug 27, 2012 By Jordan Breal

For many travelers, this far West Texas town is a last-chance pit stop before heading south to brave the wilds of Big Bend National Park. But, this past spring, after driving 407 miles (that’s roughly 7 hours and 143 country songs) from Austin to…

Marfa: Trans-Pecos Gathering of Music + Love

Aug 27, 2012 By Jordan Breal

In one of my favorite descriptions of Marfa, writer David McDannald points out that sometimes it’s “a shadow of a town” and sometimes it’s “a desert Mardi Gras.” At the end of this month, West Texas’s buzziest destination will be lit up like Bourbon Street…

Cowgirl Up

Jul 31, 2011 By Barney Nelson

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, to maintain a majestic way of live.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Dec 4, 2008 By Patricia Sharpe

In January, the Gage Hotel, which is one of my all-time favorite romantic destinations in West Texas (well, the rooms in the Los Portales section are, not the ones with the bathrooms down the hall in the historic building–not so romantic running into some unknown dude in his…

A Kiss Before Dying

Feb 1, 2006 By Pamela Colloff

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.

The Man In the White Hat

Feb 1, 2006 By John Spong

To hear John Poindexter tell it, he’s one of the good guys—a faithful steward of his West Texas land and therefore a worthy bidder for 46,000 acres of Big Bend Ranch State Park. But sometimes having your heart in the right place simply isn’t enough.

Reversal of Fortune

Aug 31, 2004 By Pamela Colloff

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.

Gotta Lubbock

Apr 30, 2000 By Michael Hall

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

Wills Power

Apr 30, 2000 By John Morthland

Sixty-five years after his first recording sessions with the Texas Playboys, 25 years after his death, Bob Wills is still the king of western swing.

The Big Con

Aug 31, 1983 By Byron Harris

From his early days in Big Spring, Eugene Anderson wasn’t what he seemed; neither was the mysterious element he later claimed turned water into fuel.