It was November 1934 when 20-year-old Everett Ruess arrived in the remote Utah township of Escalante with his two burros. The settlement had been founded by Mormons in 1876 and it was a place where the arrival of a stranger was a rare event. Everett appeared relaxed and exchanged small talk with the townsfolk.
Ruess pitched camp under some old cottonwood trees across the Escalante River which ran just to the north of the town. The youngsters of the town were happy to make the most of a friendly stranger in their midst, and Ruess took them riding. On his last night there, he even treated two of them to a movie in the town’s theater.