Cover Photo: Illustration by Lindsay Stripling for Catapult
Illustration by Lindsay Stripling for Catapult

A New Definition of the Term “Cowboy” Can’t Change Its Legacy

There are cowboys out there who echo the conquering-the-west narrative, one of entitlement and legacy and what he is owed.

This is Why-oming, a column by Jenny Tinghui Zhang that explores life as a woman of color in Wyoming, one of the whitest and loneliest places in the United States.


Last December, when my upstairs neighbor was out of town, I received a Facebook message from her boyfriend around 11 p.m. “I’m watching A’s cat while she’s away,” it said. “Want to come up and have a beer?”

It’s late at night, I don’t know this guy, I’m alone, I shouldn’t.

He really needs my help, so I should help.


Jenny Tinghui Zhang is a Chinese-American writer from Austin. Her debut novel Four Treasures of the Sky is forthcoming from Flatiron Books in April 2022. Find her at