On the morning of July 12, 1945, as residents of Rawlins, Wyoming were waking up to an article about rounding up wild horses with an airplane, a palomino stallion was losing his fight for freedom at the hands of a wrangler known as Frank "Wild Horse" Robbins, the man featured in that article. Knowing a wild palomino was rare, Robbins sent for photographer Verne Wood to capture the animal on film.
Forty years later, a question from a daughter to her father about that very photograph would set the man on a sixteen-year journey to find the truth. He would discover that Woods took a one-in-a-million photograph; one that won a prestigious contest, the winning of which set the horse--and the two men--on a rollercoaster ride toward destiny. As the photo gained fame worldwide--appearing in the Wyoming State Capitol, the United States Senate Chambers, the House of Commons in London, and the Canadian Parliament in Toronto--the horse became the star of a film nominated for an Academy Award. All while Robbins and Wood battled for ownership of the photo and its copyrighted name, resulting in one of the most unique Solomonesque rulings ever handed down by a court.
What started out as a passion, soon became an obsession to uncover the entire truth--or at least as close to the truth as any one man could come. With over 100 photos, Desert Dust follows Gill Gillilan's investigation into one of the most famous horses in the American West. It is a story of highs and lows, victory and defeat, frailty and strength. It contains one of the most unique cast of characters ever assembled, including the stallion that ended up a supporting actor in his own life story.