The Last Wyoming Mountain Man

Howdy, everyone! I’m thrilled to be writing my very first post in Petticoats & Pistols! A little intro: I write contemporary Christian romance novels through Harlequin Love Inspired. My first five books were set in a fictional town called Lake Endwell, Michigan, and every book since has been set in fictional towns in Wyoming. Oh, and they feature cowboys. Lots and lots of cowboys!

I like cowboys.

Just saying.

Okay, enough about me! Let’s talk about the last Wyoming mountain man. I read this article by Jake Nichols last week, “Spaghetti Westerner Gap Pucci, 88, is the Last Wyoming Mountain Man of His Time,” via Cowboy State Daily. The article is linked, and it’s worth popping over to read the full article and see all the pictures. His life is fascinating.

Here’s a brief round-up.

Gap Pucci’s family emigrated to the U.S. from Sicily in the early 1900’s, and he spent his youth in Pennsylvania working in a quarry with his father. Later, he became a farrier, got into body-building, and joined the Army. He ended up being stationed in Alaska for a few years, which gave him a thirst for wide-open spaces and untamed land.

He moved to Utah and worked for a sheepherding operation, and later discovered Jackson, Wyoming. He and his bride, Peggy, lived in Wyoming from then on. Gap opened an outfitting business, and he and Peggy raised two daughters in a rustic cabin he still lives in today.

This quote from the article struck me:

“Nowadays what makes this 88-year-old special is the fact that he still lives like he does — straight-up cowboy. No phone, no internet, no modern amenities. Not even a fancy hay fork with the composite handle.”

No phone.

No internet.

No modern amenities.

I have to admit, there are days when I think, yeah, it would be great to have no phone, no internet. But I NEVER think I don’t want modern amenities.

Yes, the phone and internet claim my attention too often. But I love my hot showers, microwave, coffee maker, washer and dryer, furnace, and even my garage door opener. Modern amenities and I are besties.

So, Gap Pucci, I salute you! You lived an amazing, hard, fulfilling life.

As for me? I’ll stick to writing about cowboys. And I’m going to go give my coffee maker a hug. I take that beautiful machine for granted.

How do you feel about no phone, no internet, no modern amenities?

Thank you for stopping by!



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Jill Kemerer is a Publishers Weekly bestselling author of heartwarming, emotional, small-town romance novels often featuring cowboys. Her essentials include coffee, caramels, a stack of books and long walks outdoors in Ohio where she resides with her husband.

51 thoughts on “The Last Wyoming Mountain Man”

  1. I know I am spoiled by them. I could do without many of them, but definitely draw the line with running water and flushing toilets. I enjoy the ease of electricity because honestly oil lamps always scared me when we lost electricity when I was little, and an electric stove has more appeal to me than one where I would have to put wood in it.

    • That’s a line I’ll draw, too, Danielle! I grew up in mid-Michigan with a wood-burning furnace. The house got COLD while we were away for school and work. There’s something to be said about not having to load wood into a furnace!

  2. I sometimes agree with you especially about the internet, but running water, a furnace, electric lights, a refrigerator, or a water heater I draw the line. I was 5 when my grandparents had the furnace put in and 16 when they had a tub and flushing toilet installed and somewhere in between when the water heater was added. I would not want to lose those modern conveniences.

  3. I lived without a lot of the amenities (phones, TV, electricity, indoor plumbing, etc) until I was 13. I have no desire to go back to those days!

  4. Welcome – I too prefer the modern lifestyle and the plumbing, hot showers and some tv – reading is key!

  5. I’ve lived without indoor plumbing – shower, toilet, tub. We had to go outside to the spigot and get water to drink and bathe. We had to make trips to the outhouse. We had a home phone, electricity, and gas heaters – no air conditioning. This was in the 60s in Nashville, TN. Hard to believe we lived in town and not in the country. Internet wasn’t even heard of.

    I have no desire to live like that again, if I don’t have to.

    • Oh wow! Yeah, no thank you on the outhouse! I still remember when the internet launched where we lived. It’s shocking how much has changed in the past 35 years!

  6. Jill – I’m so excited to have you joining the Fillies! And what a fun post. I love the romance of the historic cowboy life, but give me air conditioning, washing machines, and modern medicine please. 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Karen! Yes, air conditioning is huge. We didn’t have it when I was a kid, and I remember sweltering in my bed. It’s so hard to sleep when it’s hot and sticky!

  7. I don’t need social media or electronic entertainment, but my phone and computer are how I keep in contact with friends and family. That means phone OR computer. If I could only keep one, I’d prefer the computer since I can do more with it.

    As for other modern conveniences… how modern are we talking?
    The enclosed clothes washer was invented in the early 1800s. (Today is laundry day so that’s where my mind went.)

    • I don’t blame you for choosing the computer over the phone. I think I would do the same! Well, I guess we can go as modern as we want! I’m greedy–I want ALL the good stuff! Haha!

  8. I remember when my grandparents didn’t have indoor plumbing when I was a child. No thank you.

    I didn’t have central air conditioning till I married.

    I want my internet, indoor plumbing, climate controlled indoors, appliances, etc…

    I don’t even go camping as an adult.

    I read an author’s substack last night. She’s going through some lean times and had to let the internet and streaming channels go. She’s relying on the library and McDonald’s for wifi and dealing with limited hours.

    We lost our internet/cable for nearly a week because of a glitch with the modem after a power outage. We were able to use our cell phones as a hot spot for our laptops till they came to replace them. Watched our DVDs for entertainment.

    I love our modern conveniences.

    • Jill,

      Welcome. I “met” you in December when you led a class for Dani’s Winter Retreat. Thank you for all you shared.


    • Denise, I am so with you! After I got married, our first apartment had one AC unit in our bedroom, and we would stay in there during those hot days of summer! We were thankful to have that AC unit. I’ve had to rely on Internet from the library or fast food places at times, too. They’re great in a pinch, but it’s hard to not have at home.

  9. I am not sure I could live without these two things. I am currently watching 1883 and I am not sure I would survive.

  10. I would not like living off the grid. I like to have my phone for emergencies at least. I don’t watch TV even though we have one, I prefer to watch DVDs of shows mainly from the 80’s because they were so good. I love westerns though, Laramie is my favorite western from 1959, my 17 year old daughter actually introduced me to it. Louis L’Amour is my favorite western author. I don’t like outhouses either so I definitely want indoor plumbing. I grew up having to use one of those when someone was in the one bathroom we had for six people.

  11. I could do without TV and my phone. I could still read and sew. Other han that, I need running water, and a bathroom with a flushing toilet.

    • I love that you craft! I recently got back into crocheting. I also love doing jigsaw puzzles. It’s nice to do stuff with my hands, rather than just sit, although I’m good at sitting!

  12. Welcome, Jill! We are so happy you’ve joined us! And such a great post. Gosh, I wish I could live without the phone and internet, and sometimes it is awesome to take a break from them. But modern amenities? Nope. Like you – we are besties. When I was six, our pipes froze and we spent two miserable months without a drop of water in our house. To this day, I hate camping and consider roughing it a 3-star hotel. Again – welcome to the Fillies!

  13. Honestly, there are days I could do without my phone and the internet!! And, I use my phone ONLY for talking and texts, nothing else, which some people just can’t understand. It will ALWAYS only be for talking and texting for me!! I wouldn’t want to have to do without my A/C, for sure, since I live in Florida! I haven’t had it on for the past week or so, as it’s been really nice here, but during the summer, I NEED my A/C!!!

  14. I grew up without a TV, so reading and the radio are much more my preference, although I thoroughly enjoy Pandora. As far as cell phones and internet (other than Pandora), there are places in the Rockies where you exist without them whether you like it or not!

  15. My relatives were pioneers from Montana and North Dakota and I have heard stories about them doing without many things. I think I could handle it.

  16. I live in a state where the weather is pretty extreme, and although I can deal with the heat okay, surviving the cold without constantly cutting wood & stoking a wood burning stove (been there & done that), is something I can appreciate. I also love running water & indoor plumbing (I’ve lived where outhouses were what we had, & it wasn’t very fun at night or in the winter). I don’t Ming roughing it, but I love coming back to modern conveniences and having more time for things that really matter!

  17. Hi, I could live without TV as I would rather read , but electricity would not be a very good thing not to have as our house is All electric. I sure do admire all the people that didn’t have what we have now, but I would be lost , but I guess I would have to make do with whatever I had. I am just very Thankful that I was born when I was.

  18. A big welcome, Jill! I loved your post–but I’m so with you about the modern amenities. I would not make a good “pioneer woman” at all. Modern medicine is one thing we take for granted that we wouldn’t have–even aside from coffee makers and electricity and so on. It’s not any wonder people didn’t live long back then. Although I’ll say Gap has lived a good long life! I get cold in the winter now that I’ve gotten older and I would definitely miss my warm house. This article gives me a lot of food for thought!

    So glad you’ve joined us here at P&P and I really enjoyed this post!

  19. When I was younger, I had the opportunity to marry a man and move to a place like that. No electricity, no running water, no way out in the winter except by helicopter, 8 hours to the nearest small town, 12 hours to a slightly bigger town where his family got their supplies. They ran their own outfitting and hunting guide business in British Columbia, Canada. I would have loved to visit but I just couldn’t live there. I’m too spoiled to modern life…and I didn’t like the taste of moose meat at all, which was their main food!

  20. wow that is so cool. I have really gotten used to all my convivences. But I did grow up with only a few, so going back to just that would not be such a problem.

  21. Welcome to Petticoats and Pistols, Jill. You are joining a great group of ladies. I wouldn’t want to live without electricity, but could give up many of the technology based items. I was in the Peace Corps for 3 years back in 1968 to ’71. I was in the tropics. No air conditioning, no refrigerator, no washing machine. We did have electricity so had lights and water. After the initial shock, I didn’t really miss it. I got to spend more time reading. The only things I really missed were the refrigerator and oven. Using a little box oven over a propane burner, you can only cook four to six cookies at a time. I used the burner of the family family I lived with and likely used all their propane for one batch f chocolate chip cookies. It had been almost 2 years since I had had any and I just really needed them. I did my laundry on a wash board and hung it on a line. I notice now that I spend so much time on the computer every evening that I am not getting to read much. As for the TV, I watch that while I am on the computer. The phone is a convenience. I appreciate. I don’t spend much time on it except for calls. I notice our children and grandchildren are constantly on it, their computers, and video games. They are missing so much.
    Our son is more of the mountain man. He is happiest outdoors and could survive quite well under the circumstances Gap does. Actually, my husband and I as well as all 3 of our children could survive living Gap’s lifestyle, we just really would prefer not to have to.

  22. One of my favorite places in the world is Green Bank, West Virginia. I lived there for six years when I was a kid, so basically all my “growing up years” & memories are there. Set deep in the Appalachian Mountains, Green Bank is home to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, so it is what they call a Quiet Zone – meaning no cell phones & mostly no internet. It’s a different way of life & I love it! The people there are friendly & down-to-earth (I still have some very special friends there), they take time to actually talk & visit each others’ homes, & it is one of the most beautiful places in the world to me. I love to visit & have done so many, many times in the years since moving back to Missouri. If it weren’t so far away from my family around here, I could live there in a heartbeat. Now don’t get me wrong… I enjoy my cell phone, I like having the internet, & I don’t think I could live without many of our modern amenities, but the absence of the rat-race & busyness is so peaceful. (They do have other modern amenities, but most folks don’t have AC… that’s one I could NOT live without!) The Quiet Zone is only about a 50-mile radius, so you don’t have to go far for cell service. I wish our world was not so dependent on our cell phones. It makes me sad to see young people & children constantly on their phones & not using their time together to visit & laugh & play outside! I wouldn’t trade all my childhood years of playing outside, riding my Big Wheel & my bike, catching lightning bugs, climbing trees, playing in the creek, swinging on the swingset, catching snakes & frogs, & building houses in the woods, etc, for all the cell phones in the world! I love my cell phone, but the quiet, peaceful life I remember as a child & experience every time I go back to visit Green Bank sure calls to me sometimes. 🙂

  23. i GREW UP WITH A WALL PHONE, ROTARY DIAL WHICH ALSO WAS A PARTY LINE. However, we had no internet. We had a inside restroom and I have been subjected to using an outdoor toilet more than once. I appreciate my amenities, but having a cell phone makes life easier all around for emergencies. All of us have become spoiled. I could not do without electricity, although I have lived in homes without air conditioning. It was something one just accepted back then, unless you could afford a window air conditioner.

  24. We all have become spoiled with the new technology. But I am right there with you Jill Love my coffeemaker have a great week!

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