The American Cowboy in Life and Legend Author:William Albert Allard (Photographer), Bart McDowell Across the Great Plains snow fell every day but three that terrible February of 1887. Stranded cattle starved and froze to death by the thousand. Fortunes evaporated as ranch after ranch went under; the bottom dropped out of the beef market. Murderous blizzards heralded the end of the Old West, an end hastened by railroads and barbed wire, by fa... more »rmers and sheepmen streaming west to the prairies.
But the cowboy himself survived catastrophe and change: He remains a national folk hero, larger than life in story, movie, and song. Rugged and courageous, he represents the vanished freedom and adventure of the open range. No wonder the cowboy mystique obscures the reason he exists at all. A 19th-century cattleman -- author Bart McDowell's Grandfather -- put it this way: " Most anything you want to say about cowboys is true. But the important thing is they take care of cows. "
Seasoned with vivid first-hand accounts, The American Cowboy In Life and Legend traces the colorful, sometimes violent, history of the cattle industry from its beginnings in Mexico to the present. You will follow cowpunchers driving their Longhorn herds up famous trails -- Chisholm, Western, Goodnight-Loving -- and meet the men who pioneered them. You will sense the terror of stampede, flood, and prairie fire along the way.
Ranchers battle rushers in showdowns climaxed by Wyoming's Johnson County War. Gunslinging cowpoles rampage through the brawling, cowtowns of Abilene and Dodge City .
You will visit outfits at roundup time, when a man afoot is useless; observe life in remote line camps on the border of a range; experience rodeo bronc riding, steer wrestling, and calf roping.
More than 100 photographs by William Albert Allard -- and scores of other illustrations -- enliven this book. Written with savvy and humor, it confirms the claim of a trail hand who said he "would know an old cowboy in hell with his hide burnt off. It's the way they stand and walk and talk."« less