The Last Eleven Days of Earl Durand

The Last Eleven Days of Earl Durand

The Last Eleven Days of Earl Durand

By Jerred Metz

In March 1939, a young Wyoming desperado blazed on the scene like a meteor. As a result of his crime spree, which began with an elk poach and ended with a bank robbery, seven men died, including the desperado himself. It was over in a matter of days. It left families, neighbors, and friends bereft and confused. The effects of the horrors rippled through the community.

The events captured the nation’s attention and the front pages of newspapers. The Denver Post lavished the appellation “Tarzan of the Tetons” on Durand, though he did not resemble Tarzan in any regard, and the events were not that near the Teton mountains.

Author Jerred Metz first became fascinated with the story of Earl Durand in 1973 after hearing a student sing “The Ballad of Earl Durand.” Metz took his young family to Wyoming in 1978 to interview participants in the events and returned several times. Fifteen of those interviews became the fifteen chapters of this book, narrated in the first-person voices of people who lived through the episode—not mere bystanders, observers, or commentators, but participants.

Forty years is a long time to recall events that flew by like a flash. But the people interviewed had contemplated these events for years, trying to make them understandable. Their stories flow together like a river as they each, in turn, recount the last eleven days of Earl Durand.

  • • 0-931271-73-8 • trade paper • index • bibliography • 224 pp • photos • $15.95 ORDER NOW
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The Last Eleven Days of Earl Durand

The Last Eleven Days of Earl Durand

By Jerred Metz

“The most imaginative creator of pulp melodrama never, in his wildest dreams, produced as wild a story as Durand lived in his last ten days. If it had been portrayed on the screen, no one would have believed it could be real.”
•• Denver Post, March 25, 1939

“It’s all here—vivid as when I was a boy—the life, capture, flight, and last days of the poacher turned murderer, Earl Durand."

“This book will excite your emotions, sadden you, puzzle and anger you. It happened just that way. I remember.”
•• Alan K. Simpson, author & former Wyoming Senator

“One wonders what Fox News...would make of the story of Earl Durand. One can imagine Greta of Fox...standing in front of the cabin at the foot of the Beartooth Mountains [giving minute by minute reports]."

“For once the cover blurbs are true: in Larry K. Brown’s words, ‘this is a page-burner.’ You’d better wear gloves when you read it, because this story is hot even without Greta’s help.”
•• Doris Meredith, Roundup Magazine

Jerred Metz

Jerred Metz

As soon as he heard a student sing “The Ballad of Earl Durand” Jerred Metz knew that someday he would pursue the story. “All of my writing begins with a germ of an idea, an inkling, a bit of a story. When I found the events reported at great length and in detail by the Denver Post and other newspapers I knew the story was worth exploring.”

To research The Last Eleven Days of Earl Durand Metz interviewed fifteen people who were directly involved in the events of Durand’s last days. “I have a deep interest in the voice of the people, in oral literature,” Metz said. The spoken word—the phrasing of the accounts, the anecdotes specific to the ways of life and hence to the personalities of the people, the flavor of place, and the texture of the time—gave life to the story. His earlier book, Drinking the Dipper Dry: Nine Plain-Spoken Lives, also uses the style of the spoken word.

Metz’s imagination and love of reading led to his academic study of literature. After earning a B.A. and M.A. in English at the University of Rhode Island he received a Ph.D. in literature from the University of Minnesota where he taught writing. After teaching for four years at Webster College in St. Louis, Metz was appointed Deputy Director of the Department of Human Services for St. Louis. Nine years later he went to Cardinal Ritter Institute to direct programs for the elderly. For fifteen years he was the poetry editor of Webster Review. He was a founder of Singing Bone Press.

All the while Metz wrote. He had five books of poetry and two books of prose published before The Last Eleven Days of Earl Durand.

Now living in South Carolina, Metz writes, and teaches writing and literature for Coker College and Webster University. He and his wife, a script writer, are working on stage versions of The Last Eleven Days of Earl Durand.