Forrest Gets Friendly Mail…


With this fifth installment of email to and from Forrest we get to read about the ways the treasure hunt has been a reward for Forrest as well as the folks who gave looking for the chest a good try. Finally, we learn quite a bit about how Forrest made his fortune in the gallery business…


Greetings Mr. Fenn..So happy to have a copy of your book to study and enjoy. My notes could only provide me with so much understanding….The Thrill  of the Chase takes on more and more depth and meaning for me each time that I read it…

My daughter got married in San Diego on Sat. It was a beautiful wedding and celebration of their love. She has some wounds from her childhood.  Hoping forgiveness will come sooner than later in her journey! All of her problems have my and her Dad’s name on them but her solutions will be her own! I just keep pouring in the love!

Though it has been a busy time with other activities, your book and the message have never left my mind for long. Looking forward to reading it all the way through again and will write you a letter explaining why brass is cold to the touch in a warm room…

Hope all is well with you…I can still hear you asking me, “What do you think?” Really hoping to meet you soon!


Would that I could have your eloquence and way-with. Thank you so much for those words, they came with some needed ignition…
Please, lets meet sometime. I think I need a hug. f


Dear Forrest,
I was just at the site….is it in a hard mound of rocks and sand below the stone man? Will I be arrested?

If you are arrested I’ll help you with the bail. Tell me where you are so I can make reservations. f


Mr. Fenn:
I’m not sure but I think I may have found the Toledo you were referring I recall you said your treasure lies 300mi. W of Toledo.

I did find one Toledo, Historical Town of Toledo South Dakota & 300mi. W would be the Big Horn Mountains, Wyoming!

I’ve created a monster. f


My family and I went on a vacation to West Yellowstone. We saw Hebgen Lake and took 191 down into Canyon St. We turned onto HWY 20 below the Madison River into Yellowstone. We drove for about 20 miles up river until we reached Gibbon Falls. We went down to the river and it sure was cold. I wonder if they ever remove that wood that’s below the fall? There were Buffalo all over the roads it was wonderful. We seen a Grizzly up close and all kinds of animals we don’t have in Florida. If it had not been for you Mr. Fenn we would have never gone out west to see all the beautiful wonders that God created. This trip has enriched our lives in more ways than we can describe. Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts.
Jerry Zacuto and Family

It is for people like you that I wrote the book Mr. Jerry Zacuto and Family. Please don’t stop searching. f


Mr. Fenn,
If I may be so bold I’d like to offer a suggestion for your next clue revelation. It might save folks some grief to know for sure whether this is really buried or not. I know you have indicated pretty strongly that it is not, but not exactly been firm about it. For example, I have seen several folks at the Dunn Bridge and at the Red River Hatchery (another popular place with searchers) carrying in shovels. I try to explain they probably don’t need them, but that usually goes over their heads.

Anyway, thanks for the adventure. When (not if) I find your pretty little box I’ll be more than happy to return your prized bracelet.

Stay well Forrest – the world needs more guys like you!!

Sir, just because I haven’t said the treasure is buried doesn’t mean it isn’t. Reminds me of the old axiom, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you.” I just don’t want to reveal that as a clue. I hear there is a guy up near the John Dunn Bridge using a bull dozer. Good luck. f


And Finally…An artist friend of Forrest’s has a show scheduled in Santa Fe for October. Since Forrest had been in the art business for many years he was asked what advice he had to share in preparation for the show. This is Forrest’s reply.

It is the responsibility of the artist to present a product that the consuming public wants to buy. That’s the main thing, and the hardest part. Galleries in Santa Fe go out of business every week because they are trying to sell something that they like personally. It’s a fast poison.
It’s OK for an artist to have romantic notions in his studio about who he is but lets face it, an artist is little more than a manufacturer in the business sense. Art is a commodity and should be treated as such, except when speaking with a client.
One bad painting hanging with good ones ruins the whole show. Just do not show anything that is not your best work.
It is the responsibility of the gallery to pull the public in to look at the art. It can be done by having a dynamic speaker talk for 15 minutes. (no longer) That speaker should be someone whose name will attract listeners and thus, expose them to the art. Ask Paul Hutton to talk about a subject related to your work. Johnny Boggs should be there with his titles for sale.
And most important, someone must sell the art. Expensive things are rarely purchased – they are nearly always sold. There is a distinct difference. When I walk into a gallery and someone looks up from a computer and says, “Let me know if I can help you.” That means he doesn’t have time for me, so instead of spending $100,000 on a painting, I walk out, not wanting to interrupt a computer game.
Selling means you need someone who is attractive, eloquent, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and extroverted. That person is lacking at your gallery, which means you should bring someone with you, even if you have to hire that person for three hours from another gallery.
The artist should try to meet people at his show but not be actively involved in selling until the deal is almost made. Then such comments as, “I think this is one of my best paintings,” “This is one of two paintings that my mother wanted to keep but I talked her into taking the other one because I needed this one to dress up my show,”  Joseph Sharp, when a buyer balked, would say, “How foolish of a man to wait, when once his chance is nigh, tomorrow may be too late, some other man may buy.”
Soft western music in the background can add ambience, but softly. Mood is important. When someone wants to think about a painting, that means no, not maybe.
Lighting is critical. Your gallery murders paintings with light. Lights should be on reostats and turned down until the painting warms.
Serve a drink that’s different. What about sarsaparilla? I’m serious, and make a big deal about how important it was in the 1850s.
Put a few sold stickers on paintings you think won’t sell, or two that you don’t want to sell. Look successful.
Do you know someone who will loan a CMR or Remington painting to hang with yours?
Each painting should have it’s own focus, like it will be seen in someone’s home, not up near the ceiling.
Don’t invite friends who you know will not buy a painting. They crowd buyers away from the walls. Invite those who will make you look important, even if you know they won’t buy.
Talk to EVERY client. Talk about whether that’s a ’73 model Winchester or a 66 model. If there is history going on in the painting talk about it.
Complement people who like your work. If someone has a “good eye” because they have one of your paintings, maybe they will have a better eye if they have two. Tell them that in a way that is not pushy.
Ask a client to take one of your paintings home and hang it for a month on approval. See if it fits. If not, tell them you will send someone over to pick it up. Make sure he lights it properly.
A client with two of your paintings is not a collector, but one with three is. Bring some small “thank-you, giveaway paintings,” to let your buyer know he is more than a sales slip to you. Giving costs you very little; not selling costs you plenty.
Tell a buyer to pay your retail price and take it home for a year. After that he can bring it back for full refund. Worse case scenario is that you get to use his money for a year, and hopefully the painting will have appreciated. it so you win twice if he brings it back because you can go up 25% and sell it again.
When shipping a painting on approval don’t ever use a box wherein the painting can be returned. If the guy doesn’t want your painting make him go get his own crate. Sometimes they will keep the painting instead. It’s a percentage.
I could go on but I think I sold myself one of your paintings so I am headed to the gallery so I can pick the best one. f


25 thoughts on “Forrest Gets Friendly Mail…

  1. I really enjoy reading these…….Fenn is so right about the art world. “It doesn’t matter who you are, it only matters who they think you are”. He seems to enjoy exposing the frivolous, nonsensical, arrogant world of the art business.

    So Fenn, how would a no nonsense businessman go about hiding a treasure chest?

  2. That last email response is treasure freely given…..! It can be applied in many ways. Thanks Mr. Fenn, and Dal for your site…

  3. Nice letters to Ff. I wish I could read his response, as the yellow font is impossible to read. Can you please repost in a different color please? Thank You. K

    • Sorry about the bright yellow. I was looking for a color that showed up well against the black page of the blog. I forgot about the email notifications…sigh…

      • Dal, thanks for giving us this great blog. BTW, I’m color blind… so the yellow on the black back ground worked great for me!

      • I really liked the green you used. I wonder if that would be good for all of them. The blue is the hardest for me for some reason. Can we take color orders? I’d like fries with mine.

  4. Forrest Fenn gives away a chest full of gold and jewels to anyone who can find it and still can say, “giving costs you very little”. If that isn’t inspiration for the modern man, I’ll never know the meaning of that word in any context at all.

      • Thank you, Dal. I realized after posting that not only did Forrest give away the chest full of gold and jewels, he also literally gave away thousands of hours in preparing everything for the “Thrill of the Chase”. If that isn’t the definition for “awesome”, I’ll never know the meaning of that word either!

  5. I really enjoy reading Forrest’s emails and his great responses. His advice to the artist friend is priceless and would apply to many businesses. The audience is different in different parts of the country – what sells in Santa Fe is not the same as what would sell in NY – knowing your potential buyers is great advice.

  6. One can certainly recognize that Forrest is a first rate salesman! His advice could be implemented in any sales situation.Being savvy and having the gift of gab comes from years of experience and definitely not suited for everyone.Thanx f, and thanx Dal for giving all that you do! Long live the Chase…

  7. Sir, that is very sound advice for any business and will be taken to heart. Should I find the treasure, I would definitely invest in some lighting, music, and sarsaparilla. Thank you as always for your wisdom and perspective.

  8. I stopped in Forrest’s former gallery, and the one salesman obviously had mentored under Forrest. While I obviously did not look to have the means to purchase most of the art, he was very attentive, even taking me into the guest rooms to see a collection of Russian artwork.

  9. Does anyone know if Forrest ever said. ” The beginning is like the end but different” Where it was said if it was.

  10. @Randy tice: The only place I know of that he said anything like that is on Jenny Kiles site with her six questions for Forrest Fenn:

    Question from Jenny: From receiving feedback on hunter’s ideas and methods about how to discover the location of the chest, do you feel confident your method in hiding the chest will eventually be understood and the chest be found? Please know, I am not asking for any specifics. My question is more like, do you still feel your poem will lead someone to the treasure?

    Fenn’s Answer: The person who finds the treasure will have studied the poem over and over, and thought, and analyzed and moved with confidence. Nothing about it will be accidental. T. S. Eliot said:

    We shall not cease from our exploration. And at the end of all our exploringWill be to arrive where we started. And know the place for the first time

    • Goof-

      Nice work…
      So it looks like he was quoting TS Eliot..
      But Forrest did make the quote…
      and it appears to relate to the search..

  11. I have read quite a bit of Forrests posts and replies and was hoping I had missed this info somewhere. I still think I know where it is anyway. LOL Thanks guys for the replies.

  12. And to know the place for the first time…Those words have echoed throughout my days of searching and it is those words that become the defining moment of what confidence means to me. I once had that moment and I’ve tried to stretch and bend and even mold upon that path but uncertainty grasped at my intellect and wayward I have become. Now I shant fear for I have known, briefly, but confidently that I was right and I will rise to meet and exceed the boundries of my reseeded journey. Great poetry provides the ambience of my drive and that is something I never knew existed until this Chase had become my passion. And that’s not such a bad thing, at all……

  13. you said something to do with where the crows fly and there is a place in the Yukon called Old Crow. the “blaze” I think would be the midnight sun, and ” home of the brown” could mean either brown bears or that there is a river that Your creek runs into that is well monitored for fish spawning. I believe it is in Alaska. not 100 percent where but I think I am close. If I had the money to look I would go just for the hell of it just to see Alaska

  14. Dear Forrest
    You are wise man by not giving away any hints me and a friend are making our way up to your secret fishing hole here in 90 days thanks for the inspiration and offering up this challenge for our intellect and I’m a big fan of captain James kidd have a wonderful day cheers

  15. Hello, my name is Alexander. I go to Bowman Charter School. I was wondering, would you guys please tell me a few really confusing but useful tips or clues? I appreciate all that you guys have said.

  16. Dear Forrest Fenn,

    Is there any more tiny clues you can give us? I do not hunt for the treasure, but I like to learn about the clues and places to seek. My science teacher did go and seek for the treasure. I was wondering if you would be so kind to give me any clues? I fell that I would help him greatly. He said that he felt so close at a few places. Thank you for everything!

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