The two primary modes or tendencies in Richard Ford's fiction are juxtaposed most prominently in The Sportswriter and Rock Springs, published in 1986 and 1987, respectively. Rock Springs is a collection of short stories set in the Western United States, in and around Great Falls, Montana in particular. The stories in the book evoke the relative desolation of this landscape where the prairie meets the mountains, reflecting the desolation in the lives of many of the characters. Although few of the stories rely heavily on plot in any melodramatic way, most of them do emphasize incident and event, related in a generally brisk, translucent prose. Early in his career, Ford was often linked to minimalism (he was friends with Carver and Tobias Wolff), and Rock Springs, which gathers together the short stories he wrote before publishing The Sportswriter, comes closer than any of other Ford's other books to showing why such a connection might have been made, even though his subsequent books reveal him to be a very different sort of writer.