“Running Wild: The Life of Dayton O. Hyde” tells the story of a cowboy and author whose quest is to protect wild horses and the American West. [Photo courtesy / Utah Film Center: Moab]

There will be two free screenings of the documentary “Running Wild: The Life of Dayton O. Hyde”, both provided by the The Grand County Public Library and the Utah Film Circuit: Moab.

The first will be held 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 17 at Star Hall, 159 E. Center St. The second will be presented as part of the Utah Humanities Council’s 2013 Book Festival at 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 24 at the Grand County Public Library, 257 E. Center St.

On Oct. 24, the film will also be simultaneously screened in Salt Lake City, Boulder and Kanab. Dayton Hyde and filmmaker Suzanne Mitchell will be at the Salt Lake venue for a Question and Answer session moderated by RadioWest’s Doug Fabrizio.

The Question and Answer session will be broadcast immediately following the film in the Grand County Public Library’s large meeting room to allow those attending the screening in Moab to watch and participate. 

“We are delighted to participate in this event with the Oct. 24 screening and Q&A session at the library,” said Jessie Magleby at the Grand County Public Library.

The mission of the Utah Humanities Council is to empower individuals and groups to improve their communities through active engagement in the humanities.

“Running Wild” tells of the journey of cowboy and author, Dayton O. Hyde, whose quest is to protect wild horses and the American West.

From rodeos, conservation battles, and wild horse rescues, to award-winning books, personal heartbreak, and newfound love, “Running Wild” is the portrait of a man who is a rancher, photographer, essayist, and author. Through a series of interviews with Hyde, his family, and the volunteers at the Black Hills Wild Horse sanctuary, this film reveals Hyde’s life and vision.

This film was an Official Selection at the 2013 Slamdance Film Festival, Cinequest Film Festival, and Sedona International Film Festival

Hyde is the author of twenty books. He was born in Marquette, Mich. At thirteen he fled his parents’ home and caught a freight train heading west to his uncle’s cattle ranch in Oregon. The ranch cowboys enthralled Dayton and he absorbed their tales of days and nights spent on the open range. Stationed in Europe during WWII, Dayton got permission to stage western rodeos for the troops. After the war ended he earned a degree in English at the University of California at Berkeley because, along with his love of horses and the range, he realized he wanted to become a writer.

In the 1950s photo editors at LIFE Magazine were looking for someone brave enough to get into a ring with a bucking bronco and capture the forceful animals and riders. One of his powerful photos became LIFE Magazine’s Picture of the Week. Despite his success as a photographer, Dayton longed for his uncle’s Oregon ranch and accepted an opportunity to return and manage the land. He and his wife settled and raised five children there.

Through the years Dayton undertook increasingly ambitious conservation projects. He successfully rejuvenated a lake to save the Sand Hill Crane from extinction. His book “Don Coyote”, is about his efforts to protect coyotes on his land while neighbors poisoned them, was named one of the best ten books of the 1980’s by the American Library Association.

When Dayton turned sixty-five, he began a new chapter in life when he said goodbye to his family and headed to South Dakota. Using personal credit cards and a government sponsored loan, he purchased 11,000 acres of prairie land in the Black Hills and traveled throughout the western United States collecting wild mustangs from government feedlots–horses left to die. He brought them back to his land in the Black Hills, setting each of them free.

“’Running Wild’ was suggested by a library patron and we all felt it was an important story and would be enjoyed by a wide range of community members,” Magleby said. “This film will definitely appeal to those in Moab’s ranching community, to horse and animal lovers of all stripes, and to anyone who loves a great, inspiring story.”