Meet Faustino Barrientos. He is not only one of the last of the true gauchos, South America’s equivalent of our cowboys, but he’s lived in isolation for the past 47 years in a stretch of Chile’s remote Patagonia region accessible only by a two-day horseback ride. With solely his dogs for companionship, he’s fared well on his own, journeying to town every few years to see his brother and sell a few sheep and cattle.
Now, Barrientos is 81, and adjusting to changes in his lifestyle. He still dwells along the banks of Lake O’Higgins in a home he built from the remains of a shipwrecked fishing vessel. But a new tenant has arrived to help him guard his property and so have government agents, confiscating his guns, although he’s bought new ones to replace those he lost. Vice reporter Adri Murquia undertook a four-day journey from New York to speak with him and contemplate a solitary existence about as far away from civilization as it’s possible to get.