RIDING THE WHITE HORSE HOME: A Western Family Album by Teresa Jordan (Vintage: $11.; 219 pp., illustrated). In her account of how her family built and lost a large ranch in Wyoming, Jordan witnesses the passing of the American West: not the Technicolor Neverland of Hollywood films, but the gritty realities of wresting a living from an arid, unforgiving land. She mentions shying horses and recalcitrant cattle, but focuses on what ranchers had to endure--back-breaking labor that could be erased by unseasonal weather, isolation, minimal comforts. Although she writes with warm affection, Jordan never romanticizes her experiences as she reveals why the family ranch is no longer economically viable.