Cowboy American Icon: A Short History of Wild West Culture (Hardcover)
May your belly never grumble
May your heart never ache
May your horse never stumble
May your cinch never break
A sweeping visual history of the iconic figure of the Old West -- and the present west.
Cattle were introduced to North America as early as the 1680s. But the true era of the cowboy required an intersection of inventions and conditions that finally happened about 1860.
The east of North America was thickly forested. Modern cattle thrive in grasslands, and when white Europeans made their way to Texas, Kansas and Missouri they found a bonanza of grasslands that were being connected to the big markets of the East, by the first railways across the plains.
Abilene, Kansas became a destination for cattle drives from Texas, that sent vast shipments to Omaha and the meat packers of Chicago. For a period of 50 years, the cowboy of legend had a vital role in the economy of America.
This is the story, in photos, texts and illustrations of who the cowboys were, what their lives and culture were, famous cowboys, outlaws and lawmen, cattle and horses -- in short, the whole world of the cowboy from early days to now.
Packed with archival photos, posters, sidebars and museum-worthy artifacts, Cowboy includes:
Cowboys of the Old West
- America's early explorers and settlers
- Westward expansion, wars with Native peoples
- Wagon trains and the first railroads
- The creation of cattle ranches
- The vaqueros, the first cowboys
- What is a cow? Bovine biology
- Cowboy clothing and saddles
- Hazards of the trail
- The cattle drives: major railheads
- The last roundup (1910)
- Outlaws, rustlers and lawmen
- Cowboy-style entertainers (Annie Oakley, Kit Carson, Buffalo Bill Cody)
The Modern Cowboy
- The up-to-date cowhand
- Seasons of the ranch
- Modern horse breeds: mustangs and quarter-horses
- Rodeos, and their future
- The cowboy legacy in art, film, TV and song
- Cowboy fashion: blue jeans and bolo ties
- The cowboy story: from Zane Grey to Cormac McCarthy.
Throughout, spectacular images and well-researched photographs designed in a "period" style make this a useful resource and a fascinating gift for anyone with a fondness for the real cowboy story.
About the Author
Author Daniel Pruitt is an historian long fascinated by the history of the American West -- appreciating its legendary tall tales while respecting its hard truths A lifelong horseman, Pruitt is a former trainer and competitor in Western equitation who currently lives in New England This is his first book