This story is a conversation between a hitchhiker and a former editor from Warner Brothers. The editor did some work on the film High Plains Drifter.
It was probably the spring of 1997. I hitchhiked north on U.S. 395 from southern California and got dropped off in Bishop. Bishop is a very beautiful place.
The mountains to the east were dry and brown, the mountains to the west (Sierra Nevadas) were rugged and snow-covered. There are a lot of irrigated ranches in that valley. I walked through Bishop for a couple of miles and then stopped north of town on U.S. 395. I waited for a short while and this vehicle pulled over to pick me up.
The guy who gave me a ride was probably in his late fifties or early sixties. He told me that he was coming from a ranch that he owned in Mexico; he was heading to Mammoth Lakes where he owned a grocery store. I told him that I was hitchhiking around the country for a short while; I had just quit my job at Harold Pike Construction Company in Ames, Iowa (Pike Construction hired me ten times in four years, I was grateful that they let me work for them so many times).
“So what did you do before you bought your ranch?” I asked.
“I worked for Warner Brothers as an editor,” he replied. “I worked at Warner Bothers for a number of years and got tired of being in the studio.”
“So what films did you work on?” I asked.
“One film I worked on was High Plains Drifter,” he said.
I looked at him and exclaimed, “No way! High Plains Drifter? That is one of my favorite westerns. You are not going to believe this, but in 1995 I had a short story published by Ethos magazine. The title of my short story is ‘High Plains Drifter.'”
At the time, I had a few copies of my short story in a folder in my backpack. I would pass out my story to people if they were interested in reading it.
“When you drop me off, I will give you a copy of my short story,” I said.
We drove north on U.S. 395. At Lake Crowley he turned off the road and dropped me off at this intersection. I dug out my folder that was in my backpack and gave him a copy of “High Plains Drifter.”
“Thanks,” he said.
“Thanks for the ride.”
He drove off and I started walking up U.S. 395. I walked for a short while. The sun was down and I needed to find a place to sleep. I jumped over this fence and walked out into this sagebrush maybe a quarter of a mile from Lake Crowley. I rolled out my sleeping bag and slept there. I think it got down in the upper 20s F that night.
About my meeting the guy who gave me a ride from Bishop to Lake Crowley: there are no accidents in the Kingdom of Heaven. Things happen for a reason.
The next day I hitchhiked north to Reno.
[The film High Plains Drifter, starring Clint Eastwood, was made at Mono Lake near Lee Vining, California in 1973. Lee Vining is on U.S. 395 between June Lake and Bridgeport.]
[Originally published by Digihitch.com]
High Plains Drifter (short story)
HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER/Written in Blood
Book Review: High Plains Drifter
Clint Eastwood’s film High Plains Drifter (1973)
Sleeping at the Post Office in Bridgeport, California