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Palin masters the lasso and contemplates the life of the American cowboy.

Cowboy, Baby

The word "dude" may be politely taken to mean a guest but it also implies a non-Westerner, an urban American who wants to sample the Wild West without getting too wild. The age of the computer seems only to have increased the appeal of the cowboy, and many of my fellow-guests picked Hargrave Ranch off the Internet.

The American West, rather like Ernest Hemingway, has passed from reality, through legend, to cliché. The Native American tribes have been whittled away, the herds of bison have gone, and the survivor, the cowboy, has been hunted down by film producers and advertisers and designers and graphic artists so it's hard to know what the real thing is any more.

Palin explains how Hemingway enjoyed getting out into the wide open spaces of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho where he could hunt, fish and write in peace. Unfortunately, Palin has some trouble finding some peace and quiet of his own.

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"Pork and Beans and Spaghetti"

Never before have pork and beans been afforded such heroic status as when Nick Adams settled in to eat by the shores of Hemingway's "Big Two-Hearted River."

Photo credit: © Basil Pao, 1999. Text excerpt: "Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure" by Michael Palin © Michael Palin, 1999 Used with permission of Cassell & Company. Buy the book in the Palin Store.