Never Burn Your Moving Boxes

A True Tale of a Real-Life Cowboy Wife

Jolyn Young




A young woman's struggle with marriage and motherhood on some of the most remote ranches in the American West. 

Jolyn Young grew up in the “real” northern Californiathe forgotten area at the tip-top of the state with small towns, extreme poverty, and about 40 miles to the Oregonian mountains. In a childhood defined by a subdivision, she decided she wanted to be a cowboy, and two years out of college, she saw that dream through, taking a job at a Nevada ranch in the search for a lifestyle subsisting of horses, cattle, and the wide open range. 

Falling in love was never part of the plan. 

Jim Young was tall, strong, and could ride a bronc and rope a steer like no one's business. And before she knew it Jolyn found her cowboyin' dreams overtaken by a new and intoxicating cowboy reality. With long days side by side in the saddle, nights sharing a bedroll, and the deep satisfaction that came with hard physical work in a place filled with natural beauty, it seemed life was all a strong-willed young woman might want it to be.

But when a baby-to-be suddenly spun her wild romance into a very practical marriage, and one decrepit ranch trailer home led to the next, Jolyn found her young family desperately seeking stability in what is by definition a transient lifestyle that moves with the seasons. Often hours from the nearest grocery store and half-a-day from the closest hospital, pregnancy, childbirth, and illness required a do-it-yourself mentality. With days, sometimes weeks on her own as Jim worked the farthest reaches of whatever ranchlands they currently called homeand first with one child to care forand eventually with threeJolyn fought profound loneliness, finding comfort in writing and company in her camera.

As the cowboy lifestyle pulled them further toward the brink of civilization and Jim's drinking became a liability, losing him jobs and sending them packing, again, to yet another, different, distant cow camp, Jolyn struggled with the knowledge that she was choosing a life of scrubbing filthy mobile home floors and bunkhouse bathrooms in order to keep her family together. It would take leaving it, and Jim, for her to determine whether a world built on risk could coexist with the responsible mother she had needed to become.

With a memoir that is brave, honest, and heartbreakingly funny, Jolyn Young has written the story of every young adventure-seeker, every new mother, and every partner who has loved an alcoholic in a whole new lightthat of a campfire, on the edge of the desert night, miles away from cell phone reception.

Additional Information

Author: Jolyn Young

Format: Paperback

Page Count: 256


ISBN: 9781646011766

By Jolyn Young

Jolyn Young lives in the high desert of northeastern Nevada with her husband and three children. She writes about the comical side of living on a remote cattle ranch in the great American West. She lives down 15 miles of dirt road and 120 miles from the nearest Walmart, which shocks most people. (She was shocked to discover most people want to live close to a Walmart.)

Jolyn’s debut book is a memoir titled Never Burn Your Moving Boxes.

Western Life Today Says:

“Jolyn’s story is brave, honest, and often heartbreakingly funny.”

HeelsDown Media Says:

“This memoir is brave, inspiring, and for me, it was a total page turner. I couldn't put it down until there were no pages left.”