Hunter S. Thompson, the notorious gonzo writer, stayed in Glen Ellen early in his career, drawn here by his fascination with the total immersion journalism that had been developed by his hero Jack London. Hunter S. Thompson wrote to Herb Caen, San Francisco Chronicle columnist, saying “I’m leaving the country in about ten days… for a variety of reasons: foremost among them being Lyndon’s bloodlust and a $5,500,000 lawsuit filed against me and Cavalier Magazine by the greedy lunatic Chester Womack, who runs the Rustic Inn in Glen Ellen… Never trust a bartender.”
The lawsuit was over an article originally written some three years earlier for The Reporter, in which he described a typical evening in the last of our saloons “which they may refuse to buy, even though they’ve okayed it,” he wrote to his friend Eugene McGarr, adding “I have discovered the secret of writing fiction, calling it impressionistic journalism.”
A month later he wrote “I have honed my skills to the point of unbelievable sharpness. The thing I just sent The Reporter is razored from beginning to end— 18 pages of perfect calumny.” And perfect calumny it was, it turned out, which may be why The Reporter turned it down. In time, however, it was published by Cavalier.