87 minutes, 2008, DVCAM

“Aggression gives Stiles the energy to crusade as he’s been doing for nearly 20 years in his one-man newspaper The Canyon Country Zephyr (circulation 15,000 every two months). The paper’s motto: “Clinging hopelessly to the past since 1989.” And when I write ‘one-man’, I mean that Stiles writes much of the copy, draws the illustrations, including cartoons of his advertisers, and pastes up the paper with his hand-waxer and scalpel. In the film, Stiles confirms time after time how much clinging to the past means to him. Life was simpler then, he says, and simpler was better. But Stiles doesn’t just hanker quietly. He sets out to defend that past like King Canute the Great ordering back the tide. Stiles came to Moab from Kentucky in 1971 and stayed there until 2005 when all the hubbub drove him out 50 miles south to Monticello, Utah. In the meantime, he reveled in the red rocks, discovered Abbey and worked as a park ranger at the same time he was an environmental activist with an edge. Once, his friends and fellow activists painted a fake crack on a roll of plastic and rolled it over Glen Canyon Dam so it would look as if it were breaking open. He wrote a book in the spring called Brave New West, in which he raged against tourists and the people who encourage them to show up by building motels and fast-food joints. in the film…he’s seen reminiscing with and caring for two older men who love the land as he does. We see a slice of what he’s accomplished, and with a sense of humor. For instance, he established ‘Mormons and Heathens for a Better Utah.’ The filmmakers seem to know what they’re doing: making a myth. Near the end of the their work, they place a song, ‘How come all them people won’t go back to where they come from?’ The lyrics sums up Stiles’ philosophy, and naturally enough he’s not going back here he came from. And that’s a good thing. Utah would be the worse off without him.” The Durango Herald