Colton H. Bryant grew up in Wyoming and never once wanted to leave it. Wyoming loved him and he loved it back. Two things helped Colton get through school and the neighbourhood bullies: his best friend Jake and his favourite mantra: Mind over matter-- which meant to him: if you don't mind, it don't matter.
Colton and Jake grew up wanting nothing more that the freedom to sleep out under the great Wyoming night sky, and to be just like Jake's dad, Bill, a strong, gentle man of few words who can ride rodeo like nobody's business. When Colton started work as a driller on a rig, despite his young wife begging him to quit, he claimed it was in his blood. Colton did die young and he died on the rig -- falling to his death because the oil company neglected to spend the $2,000 on safety rails. His family received no compensation. The strong, sad story of Colton H. Bryant's life could not be told without the telling of the land that grew him, where there are still such things as cowboys roaming the plains, where it is relationships that get you through and where a simple, soulful and just man named Colton H. Bryant lived and died.
Fuller, author of the bestselling Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, narrates the tragically short life of Colton H. Bryant, a Wyoming roughneck in his mid-20s who in 2006 fell to his death on an oil rig owned by Patterson UTI Energy. A Wyoming resident herself since 1994, Fuller is expert in evoking the stark landscape and recreating the speech and mentality of her adopted state's native sons. Along the way, she sheds light on the tough, unpredictable lives of Wyoming's oilmen and the toll exacted on their families. Though the book is wonderfully poignant and poetic and reads more like a novel than biography, Fuller acknowledges that she has taken narrative liberties, composed dialogue, disregarded certain aspects of Colton's life and occasionally juggled chronology "to create a smoother story line," leading readers to wonder what is true and what invented for dramatic purposes. As such, it is difficult to assess Fuller's simplistic conclusion that the company's drive to cut costs killed the young man, though she is right to highlight the strikingly high number of fatalities in the industry. As a touching portrait of a life cut short and a perceptive immersion in the environment that nurtures such men, Fuller's volume excels, but in terms of absolute veracity it should be read with caution.