Everett Ruess

By Staff

ruess.jpgBorn March 28, 1914 in Oakland, California, Everett Ruess is known for two-dozen block prints as well as watercolors, pen-and-ink sketches, and passionate letters written to his parents, brother, and friends about his desert adventures.

Ruess enjoyed a relationship with the land few could understand.  He began traveling on foot across Northern Arizona and Southern Utah in 1931. During a short period spent in San Francisco, he befriended photographers Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange and painter Maynard Dixon—each of whom saw his potential and encouraged his artistic endeavors.

In November of 1934, Everett left Escalante with the intention of heading south to Arizona for the winter.  In February of 1935 his burros was found in Davis Gulch—his body was never found.  Theory after theory has since surfaced regarding his mysterious disappearance—some surmise he was the victim of foul play; some purport to know someone who knew someone involved in his murder; some assert he was gay, disappearing by choice.

The short life of Everett Ruess is the basis of Plan-B Theatre Company’s world premiere of THE END OF THE HORIZON by Utah playwright Debora Threedy, playing March 14-30 in the Studio Theatre at the Rose Wagner.  Tickets available at planbtheatre.org or 355-ARTS.

“I have known beauty so piercing as to be almost unbearable.  Tomorrow, I take the trail again, on and on and on, to the end of the horizon.” 

— Everett Ruess (Act I, Scene 11)


"Untitled Ruess" from restored Everett Ruess linoblock, part of BLOCK PRINTS BY EVERETT RUESS, showing at the art gallery at the Rose Wagner through March 30, courtesy of Utah Arts Council’s Traveling Exhibitions Program.

This article was originally published on March 5, 2008.