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Contact: Robert Louis DeMayo     

3640 Moki Drive, Sedona, AZ 86336

(928) 300-3225



In this compelling narrative, Robert Louis DeMayo has taken journal excerpts and the letters Everett sent to family and friends, and turned them into scenes, and given us a glimpse of the young artist as he lived with Navajo and Hopi, and explored the southwest with a dog named Curly and a couple burros.

SEDONA, Ariz. – Pledge to the Wind, the Legend of Everett Ruess follows the adventures of the young vagabond from his appearance in the southwest in 1931 when he was only seventeen, until he seemingly disappeared in 1934, shortly before he turned 21. Theories abound as to what may have happened to Everett: drowned crossing the Colorado River, bit by a rattlesnake, fell off a cliff while trying to reach a ruin, killed by an Indian who thought he was a witch, shot by a rancher, etc. There are others that believe he didn’t die at all, and that the Navajo or the Hopi are hiding him out.

“I’ve read a dozen books about Everett Ruess,” DeMayo says, “and each was a historical account of what he did, and tried to prove what happened to him. I was much more concerned with how he lived so I tried to bring that to life in this historical fiction account.”

All we have of Everett today is a collection of his artwork, and the letters he sent home. “His letters were beautifully written, and I tried to incorporate his language into my fictional account of his travels,” says DeMayo. In his last letter to his brother, Waldo, he wrote, “As to when I shall visit civilization, it will not be soon, I think. I have not tired of the wilderness; rather I enjoy its beauty and the vagrant life I lead, more keenly all the time.”

Many people were introduced to Everett Ruess in Jon Krakauer’s book, Into the Wild. He included a chapter on Ruess in his account of Christopher McCandless because whenever he talked to people about the young man who died in the bus in Alaska they always brought up Ruess. McCandless didn’t last one hundred days in the wild, but Ruess survived at least four years.

And what he did during that time was truly incredible. In the 1930s much of the southwest was an unexplored wilderness. Using only burros or horses Everett explored much of Utah and Arizona, covering about twenty miles a day. He crossed the Grand Canyon regularly. The Navajo and Hopi that came across him miles from any road thought he was a mystic, and called him Picture Man. They allowed him to witness—and participate in—ceremonies that today are mostly off-limits to non-Indians.

About the Author: Robert Louis DeMayo was born in Attleboro, Mass., and grew up in Hollis, New Hampshire. In 1985 he abandoned a career as a Bio-medical Engineer to explore the world in a series of traveling adventures. He worked as a writer from abroad for the travel section of The Telegraph, out of Hudson, N.H., from 1988 to 2003, and for three years worked for the Travel Office for The Explorers Club and the Archaeological Institute of America. He is also the author of six novels that have collectively won eight national awards. He now lives in Arizona with his wife and three daughters.

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