People: Darkest America

Lucius Beebe, U.S. journalism's most rococo columnist, went digging for facts in Colorado, after his fashion. To mine material for another nostalgic book about his hobby, railroads, locomotive-loco Lucius, assisted only by his Manhattan roommate, a photographer, and a small, hardy retinue, braved narrow-gauge trails in a private railroad car (b. circa 1870). Like the Englishman in the jungle, Prospector Beebe dutifully dressed for dinner every night. The grub: caviar, foie gras, pheasant, champagne.

Randolph Churchill, plump columnist-son of Winston, readied himself for a more...