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Steamboat Magazine

One Book Feature Film: Rider & the Wolf

The story of Mike Rust, unraveling a mountain biking murder mystery referenced in Ted Conover's "Cheap Land Colorado"

In 2009, Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductee Mike “The Bike” Rust went missing from his off-the-grid property in Colorado’s San Luis Valley. The Rider and The Wolf tells the story of Rust, the cyclist who disappeared without a trace. This film highlights the birth of mountain biking as a sport in Colorado, but more importantly it generated a great deal of media attention around the mystery surrounding Rust’s disappearance. The film was covered by nearly every bicycle and adventure magazine, including Outside, National Geographic Adventure, Bike, Adventure Cyclist and many more.

Salida native Nathan Ward, himself an intrepid mountain biker, set out to tell Rust’s story, tracking the pioneer’s subject through the infancy of the sport to his role in the thriving community that surrounds it today. Ward brings the riveting documentary to life with a unique local perspective and access. By combining interviews, re-enactments, home movies, and archival footage—and even consulting a psychic to communicate with Rust’s sprit. It premiered at Telluride Mountainfilm and screened at dozens of film festivals around the world. The Rider and The Wolf won a number of awards, including Judge’s Choice at the Kendal Mountain Film Festival in the UK and Best Documentary at the Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival.

Most importantly, the film helped solve the mystery around Rust’s disappearance. After screening the film in the tiny remote towns near where Rust disappeared, an anonymous call to the local sheriff’s office led to the discovery of Rust’s body and the eventual conviction of his killer. It remains a testament to the power of documentary film.

Date & Time

March 23, 2023

6:30PM - 7:45PM


Bud Werner Library Hall - 1289 Lincoln Avenue, steamboat Springs, CO, 80487 1289 Lincoln Avenue steamboat Springs 80487 CO US

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Movies & Film