A moment in time
The Last Link shows the shepherds and their descendants
as a proud and passionate people, whose spiritual and physical vitality
is shaped by their connection to the mountains, regardless of whether
they are the French Pyrénées or Wyomings Bighorn Mountains.
Tempered by extremes of weather and demands of self-reliance, they remain
linked to an Old World Culture that offers a glimpse into the past where
one can feel time, marked by ever-changing patterns of seasonal cycles.
Interviews with immigrants and their descendants in Wyoming and California
graphically illustrate the role of community in sustaining a transplanted
identity within a larger Western American culture.
With these questions in mind, The Last Link returns to Wyoming with Pete
and makes a journey into the lives of local high-school youths. Investigating
the tension of changing priorities and goals, it is here that The Last
Link begins to look for which factors have enabled or prevented this new
generation from maintaining its cultural identity against the introduction
of a new lifestyle.
The thunder of hooves heralds the end of a legacy in a corner of Wyoming’s Big Horn Mountains. With quiet resignation, Johnny Camino, the son of Basque immigrants, leads his flock of sheep for the last time. Tomorrow they will be sold and his exit from the world of agriculture will be complete. At 83, his cousin Pete looks on, contemplating his position as one of the last Basque sheep ranchers in the area, a man with one last dream: to see the land of his parents before his death. At this moment, he has no idea that within six months he will embark on the trip of his life.
With Narration by Willie Nelson, The Last Link captures the rich and dramatic story of the Basque and Béarnais shepherding cultures. For over 5000 years, shepherding has been a way of life in the French Pyrénées. Basque emigrants brought this culture to the American West in the early 20th Century. Less than a hundred years later, it is in danger of being absorbed into mainstream culture, both in France and the United States.