These stories are realistic, gritty, beautiful, and amazing. Having grown up in Colorado, I was familiar with the setting of this book, but I've never seen it described this well. Annie Proulx has a gift for using language precisely. I can see why she has won so many literary prizes.
All of these stories are about tough Wyoming ranchers. None of the characters are likable, but most of them are fascinating because of their flaws. The most well-known stories in the collection are "The Half-Skinned Steer," which was featured in the anthology Best American Short Stories of the Century,
and "Brokeback Mountain," which became a movie.
"Brokeback Mountain" is the strongest story in the collection. I also liked "The Mud Below" because it seemed more straightforward and less sparsely-written than the other stories. I liked the humor in "The Blood Bay." I had a hard time picking favorite stories because I liked them all. This is one of the best short story collections I've read in a long time.