Author Nicholas Clapp and photographer Will Furman portray Bodie in both vivid words and stunning photography—a town that had two sides, aptly described in an 1870s account…
On the eve of her family’s departure for booming Bodie, a little girl was said to have gathered her dolls, that they might join her as she knelt by her bed, her prayer concluding with a somber…“Goodbye, God; we are going to Bodie!” Word was that the camp was hard-bitten, desperado-ridden.
Getting wind of the girl’s farewell to the Almighty, The Weekly Bodie Standard reported that, oh no, that wasn’t what she had mind. Not at all. Someone had gotten the punctuation wrong. What she surely said was…“Good, by God, we are going to Bodie!”
There were, in fact, two Bodies. On one hand, it was “a fearfully and wonderfully bad place” stalked by shootist in black swallow-tailed coats. On the other hand, it was a town of hard-working pioneers who dressed their little girls in starched white frocks and met adversity with charity and good cheer. As he passed through, Mark Twain mused that in Bodie virtue versus vice made for exciting times, and he’d have it no other way. He was to add, “It was a plain wonder how man carried on under such circumstances.”
View the recording of photographer Will Furman’s Sunbelt Spotlight
Listen to Will Furman’s interview with Nancy Pearlman for Environmental Directions Radio