The Tierney household in Denver in the 1950s and very early 1960s reflected many of the characteristics of the Wild West, of which it was a vestigial part. What made it so? Partly it was the spirit of independence and self-reliance -- those hearty values of the rugged frontier -- that prevailed among the four Tierney boys. Much to our regret, of course, we weren’t out slaughtering buffalo or Injuns, nor were we herding cattle or taming the wilds. But we were independent young cusses, loved by our folks, but left to find our own way, with a bare minimum of parental steering or intervention. It was parenting by benign neglect. Like millions of American kids of that generation, we were out of the house early on a summer’s morning, the screen door slamming behind us, often with no thought of return, or maternal expectation of it, until supper. It was a measure of independence, wrought by the relative absence of those things that limit youthful independence these days -- fears about kidnappings or abuse by strangers, heavily programmed schedules, and the like.