Who owns the West? "All of us, of course," says William Kittredge, but this "simple answer... is sort of beside the point when we get down to considering questions of fairness. Stay joyous under the sun and moon, in the rain and out; that's another halfway answer." Kittredge gives us not easy answers but a sustained meditation on what it means to be a Westerner today. The three essays in Who Owns the West? compose both a celebration of the new West and an elegy for an old West that is fading. Noting that "our ideas of paradise originate in childhood," Kittredge describes, in "Heaven on Earth," growing up in the highland desert country of east Oregon, "an ancient horseback world that is mostly gone." Next, in "Lost Cowboys and Other Westerners," he gives us a series of portraits of inhabitants of the region. Finally, in "Departures," Kittredge turns his eye to the West today, the "new heartland nation" that is being born from the pain and the glory of the past and the struggles and anger of the present.