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Texas Cowboy History

True stories of cowboys, cowgirls and ranchers in Texas as told in old photos, stories and books.

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Working Cattle in Castro County in 1920Working Cattle in Castro County in 1920

In 1920 brothers, Turner and Carl Hutcherson, were working cattle on a ranch in Castro County Texas. Turner is wearing chaps and Carl is to his right. Both men became ranchers, Carl in Castro County and Turner went to Arizona.

Cowboys Roping Horses in CorralCowboys Roping Horses in Corral

Two cowboys on foot roping horses inside a corral near Marfa Texas in 1930s

Wild Horse RoundupWild Horse Roundup

Wonderful photo of a wild horse roundup at Centralia Draw in Reagan County Texas in the late 1800s to early 1900s

Cowboy Camp Cook Cleaning UpCowboy Camp Cook Cleaning Up

A cowboy camp cook cleaning up after feeding the ranch cowboys near Marfa Texas in 1939

Cowboys Packing BeddingCowboys Packing Bedding

Cowboys packing up their bedding on the JA Ranch in 1904

-S Ranch in Reagan County 1915-S Ranch in Reagan County 1915

Eleven Members of the -S ranch in Reagan County in 1915 with their horses and wagons. The -S was one of the pioneering ranching enterprises which eventually established the Rocker B ranch which is owned by the Texas Scottish Rites Children's Hospital in Dallas.

Family Makes Camp Outside Matador Texas  in 1890'sFamily Makes Camp Outside Matador in 1890's

In the 1890's a family made camp outside Matador. Photo shows the Motley County Jail in background

JA Ranch Cowboys in 1915JA Ranch Cowboys in 1915

Five JA Ranch cowboys including a little boy on horseback posed with a calf they were working in Armstrong County Texas in 1915

Abilene Cowgirl in 1938Abilene Cowgirl in 1938

In 1938 an attractive cowgirl posed with her horse in Abilene Texas for a postcard

Branding Cattle Near Midland Branding Cattle Near Midland

Very clear photo of six cowboys in the early 1900s branding cattle near Midland Texas

Rancher and Wife Inspect HerdRancher and Wife Inspect Herd

A rancher and his wife inspect their herd of whiteface cattle near Marfa Texas in 1916

Horses on Street in AmarilloHorses on Street in Amarillo

Horses tied to parking meters in front of the Grand Bar, Bell Tailers, Minute Inn Cafe, Diamond Shop and more in Amarillo Texas in 1940s

Climbing a Steep TrailClimbing a Steep Trail

A cowboy follows his horses up a steep trail on the Matador Ranch in 1908

Matador Cowboys EatingMatador Cowboys Eating

Sometime between 1905 and 1910 twenty cowboys from the Matador Ranch were eating when this photo was captured. It includes Murdo Mackenzie (center with beard and suit) at the time he took over management of the ranch. At the extreme right is Henry H. "Paint" Campbell who established the ranch in 1879 with a half-dugout headquarters.

4 Cowboys Shooting Craps in 19084 Cowboys Shooting Craps in 1908

Four cowboys shooting craps on a blanket at a roundup in 1908 including B. Crawford from Silverton Texas (left) and George Pattulla from the JA Ranch (right)

Chief Quanah Parker at Matador RanchChief Quanah Parker at Matador Ranch

Quanah Parker and three of his eight wives (in wagon) say goodbye to Matador cowboys after a visit in 1910

Matador Ranch Cowboys at NightMatador Ranch Cowboys at Night

Cowboys of the Matador Ranch just before turning in for the night in 1907. John Jackson, wagon boss is identified as appearing in the back row, second from the left

Chuck and Outlaw Wagons on the MoveChuck and Outlaw Wagons on the Move

In 1908 Harry Stewart was driving a chuck wagon followed by an outlaw wagon to a new location on the Matador Ranch

Rough Trail to Spur RangeRough Trail to Spur Range

Cowboy with pack horses takes a rough trail to the Spur Range in 1908 to claim any stray mavericks and return them to the Matador Ranch

Cowboy Weighing a BullCowboy Weighing a Bull

A cowboy weighs a bull named Domino at the Matador Ranch headquarters in Matador Texas in 1905

Working an Outlaw HorseWorking an Outlaw Horse

In 1905 Claud Jeffers was captured working with an outlaw horse in the Matador Ranch corrals.

Spur and Matador Chuck Wagons Pitch CampSpur and Matador Chuck Wagons Pitch Camp

For the 1908 Roundup the Matador and Spur Ranches teamed up and pitched their chuck wagons side by side in this Erwin E. Smith photo.

Matt Walker Washes His Horse BlanketMatt Walker Washes His Horse Blanket

Long time wagon boss for the Matador Ranch, Matt Walker, washes his horse blanket in Roaring Springs in 1908

Wagon Cook Making CobblerWagon Cook Making Cobbler

A Wagon Cook on the Matador Ranch in 1908 prepares a cobbler for the cow hands in this crystal clear photo by Erwin E. Smith

Harry Campbell Branding a CalfHarry Campbell Branding a Calf

Harry Campbell was the first child born in Motley County Texas. Years later, in 1908, famed photographer, Erwin E. Smith captured him branding a calf on the Matador Ranch

Branding Cattle on the XITBranding on the XIT

Nice action shot of XIT cowboys branding cattle in 1904 with cowboys roping, holding and branding cattle and one cowboy appears to be taking the brand back to the fire to reheat or pick up another hot iron.

XIT Cowboys in 1890XIT Cowboys in 1890

In 1890 eight cowboys from the XIT ranch posed with their horses, bedrolls and wagon for this wonderful old photo.

Cowboy Down! Help on the WayCowboy Down! Help on the Way

A cowboy on the sprawling Turkey Track Ranch was heavily thrown from his horse and lay flat on his back when four fellow cowboys rushed to his aid in 1908

Cowboys Relax on Turkey Track RanchCowboys Relax on Turkey Track Ranch

In 1906 four Turkey Track Ranch cowboys squatted on the grass to play a game of Mumbly-Pegs while another cowboy reclines to watch in Hutchinson County Texas

Roundup on King Terry RanchRoundup on King Terry Ranch

Peaceful day for these two cowboys on the King Terry ranch in Brewster County Texas in the 1930s

Cattle Stock Yards in Lubbock in 1910Cattle Stock Yards in Lubbock in 1910

Very nice old photo from the cattle stock yard in Lubbock Texas with cowboys sitting on the fence in 1910

Grady Blue with his horse SnooksGrady Blue with his horse Snooks

In 1936 Grady Blue posed with his horse Snooks

Haskell County Cowboy Reunion 1936Haskell County Cowboy Reunion

In 1936 a cowboy posed beside his horse Snooks the Haskell County Texas Cowboy Reunion

Bill Pickett: Bulldogger (Biography of a Black Cowboy)

Bill Pickett grew up in Texas in the 1880’s, the child of former slaves, to become nationally famous as the star of the 101 Ranch Wild West Show. Found inside: " In the late 1880s, Thomas Jefferson Pickett moved to Taylor, Williamson County, Texas. On October 18, 1888, he bought Lots 1 and 2, Block 77, from John S. Borues for one hundred twenty-seven dollars. The property, located at 811 East Second Street, remained the family home for many years . . . " Read more Look inside

Jim Smith and Newt Cravy After Their 1,350 Mile Trail RideJim Smith and Newt Cravy After Their 1,350 Mile Trail Ride

In 1912 two Dickens County cowboys, Jim Smith and Newt Cravy, were hired by the Swenson Ranch to travel with several carloads of cattle by rail from Spur Texas to Cleveland Ohio. The trip took 36 hours to complete and the cowboys were rewarded with new suits, shirts, hats and boots and gave each of them pocket watches which they proudly showed off in this great old photo.

Breaking Muchachee the MuleBreaking Muchachee the Mule

Marvin Stephens was hired to break horses on the Matador Ranch in the late 1930s when he was asked to saddle-break a mule named Muchachee he took on the task that resulted in this amazing and humorous photo series.

Branding on the Matador RanchBranding on the Matador Ranch

In the late 1930s or early 1940s Marvin Stephens was holding the branding iron as 4 cowboys held the calf and tended to the business of turning young bulls into steers

Cowboys Working Cattle in Hart TX in 1917Cowboys Working Cattle in Hart TX 1917

In 1917 three members of the Hutcherson family were working cattle near Hart Texas when this huge amazingly-detailed photo was captured

Herding Goats in Kimble CountyHerding Goats in Kimble County

With help from his dog a sheep and goat rancher herds goats into to corral in Kimble County Texas in 1940

Branding Cattle in Castro County in 1920Branding Cattle in Castro County in 1920

Four cowboys are branding calves with Carl Hutcherson supervising the operation on his ranch in Castro County Texas in 1920

Hutcherson's of Hall County on HorsebackHutcherson's of Hall County on Horseback

Sometime in the late 1800s siblings Demmie (died 15 years) Richard and Ellen Hutcherson posed for this photo on their ranch in Hall County Texas.The Hutcherson family were early pioneers of Hall County.

Cowgirls and Cowboys in Andrews Texas in Early 1900sCowgirls and Cowboys in Andrews Texas in Early 1900s

In the early 1900s four women and three men on horseback posed for this photo in Andrews County

Charlie Bird Sr. and Boys in Post Texas 1940Charlie Bird Sr. and Boys in Post Texas 1940

In 1940 Charlie Bird Sr. and his boys mounted their horses and posed for this huge very nice old photo in Post Texas

Star Saloon San Angelo Late 1800sStar Saloon San Angelo Late 1800s

Sometime in the late 1800s fourteen men, two horses pulling an odd wagon and a dog were caught on film in front of the Star Saloon in San Angelo

Jake Honea & Boone McCrackenJake Honea & Boone McCracken

Sometime in the early 1930s Jake Honea & Boone McCracken posed for this photo. Jake Honea of Quitaque was Sheriff of Briscoe County for years. He was a very large man as you can see by the size of his horse compared to the other....

From Quakers to Cowboys-The Journey

The author set out to solve a mystery—why did the Quaker Evans family leave Wales in the 17th century to come to the American colonies and how did they end up being Baptist cowboys in Texas by the 19th century . . . Read more Look inside

Midland Rodeo in 1941Midland Rodeo in 1941

In 1941 a bull-dogger struggles to bring down a young bull at a rodeo in Midland Texas in this close-up image

3 Cowboys Near Broome Texas 19293 Cowboys Near Broome Texas 1929

In 1929 three cowboys posed for this large highly-detailed photo on a ranch near Broome Texas in Sterling County

9-Year-Old Cowboy in Memphis Tx9-Year-Old Cowboy in Memphis Tx

Sometime around 1917 Edwin Hutcherson was a young cowboy in Hall County when he posed for this wonderful photo. Edwin grew up to attend college in Wichita Falls and Texas Tech, playing football for both. He was a longtime farmer and served as a leader in just about everything from Fire Dept to Hospital board in Hall county...

LS Ranch in Oldham County in 1907LS Ranch in Oldham County in 1907

Cowboy moves six horses up a hill on the LS Ranch near Vega Texas in 1907 . . . View full size

Mule-drawn Chuck Wagon LS Ranch in 1907Mule-drawn Chuck Wagon LS Ranch in 1907

In 1907 an unknown photographer captured this photo of a chuck wagon laden with gear as it tops a hill in Oldham County Texas


The Big Ranch Country

J. W. Williams’s classic survey of the big ranches of the Southwest reaches deep into the stories of key players in American ranching history.

"The time arrived for the contest and eleven cowboys were within the enclosure. Boley  Brown from Kent County, one of the eleven, was there on his big six-year old sorrel horse. Boley was a great sport and everybody was betting on his sorrel to win. The gate was finally closed, but in a moment a cowboy from Childress rode up on a fine-looking horse." . . . Read more Look inside

10 Cowboys Cut Watermelon10 Cowboys Cut Watermelon

In 1910 ten cowboys were about to cut a watermelon when an unknown photographer convinced them to pose for this photo before cutting the melon. Brent Lemons' great uncle Frank J. Smith is in the top right of the photo.

Lone Stars of David: The Jews of Texas

The seldom told story of Jewish cowboys in Texas. "The Pena Colorado Ranch, which began to come under Halff control in March 1882, comprised forty-four deeded square miles and seventy-five thousand leased acres near present Marathon in the Big Bend, Eventually, twenty-five thousand cattle bearing a Circle Dot brand would graze the complex of craggy mountains, Chihuahuan Desert, and snaking watercourses . . .  " Read more

Cowboys Set Out on 700 Mile JourneyCowboys Set Out on 700 Mile Journey

In 1896 Carl Hutcherson (second from right) and the Crump brothers saddled up and set off on a 700 mile trip from Memphis Texas to Arizona to find work. Family records say they quickly returned. Photo courtesy Brent Lemons

Blood on the Saddle: The Life of Doc Scurlock

Doc Scurlock – One of John Chisum’s cowboys, a compadre of Billy the Kid, captain of the Regulators, veteran of numerous gun battles, and survivor of the Lincoln County War. This is the first-ever, definitive biography of Josiah Gordon Scurlock, the enigmatic intellectual whose amazing and remarkable life brought him into contact with some the most famous and infamous individuals of the Wild West. Yet, somehow, he survived where numerous others died with their boots on. Found inside: "In 1919 Doc moved to Eastland, Texas. He would live out the rest of his life here. The first couple of years in Eastland he opened a confectionary store . . . " Read more Look inside

Curley SealeCurley Seale

In July 1920 Curley Seale from Baird Texas won first money in the steer riding contest at the Brownwood Rodeo. Curley and her sister, Billy, were already managing their deceased father's ranch two years earlier in 1918 when Curley was eighteen. By 1925 they were operating it as a "no men allowed" ranch . . . read more about this amazing cowgirl.

Bud & Me: The True Adventures of the Abernathy Boys

In 1905 Temple and Bud Abernathy at ages 5 and 9 set out on a series of daring rides alone across America. Raised by their widowed father, "Catch-'em-Alive" Jack Abernathy, from Sweetwater Texas. The daring little boys traveled alone on horseback from Frederick, Oklahoma to Sante Fe, New Mexico and back. Then to New York City, alone on horseback to meet their friend "Teddy" and back to Oklahoma driving their own "Brush" automobile. Their longest ride and again alone and on horseback, takes place in 1911 . . . Read more Look inside

Bareback Contest in Dalhart Texas Rodeo c1800'sBareback Contest in Dalhart Texas Rodeo c1800's

Bareback contest on a ranch rodeo near Dalhart in Dallam County sometime in the 1800s . . . see it full size

Taming Texas

by Stephen L. Moore

The history of Texas is usually told in terms of its "giants" such as Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin. Here, instead, is a history of Texas told by one of its lesser giants, William Turner Sadler (1797–1884), whose biography becomes the framework for an exciting view of Texas History. Sadler, one of the leading pioneers of nineteenth-century Texas, participated in most of the major events of the period. He migrated to Texas from Georgia in 1835 to become a farmer. He soon found himself in command of a ranger company that built Fort Houston, served as a private in the battle of San Jacinto, was active in quelling . . . Read more Look inside

Black Horse Commanche ChiefBlack Horse and the Buffalo Hunter's War

The last Indian raid in Texas began when Black Horse and his renegade band of Comanche, camped in Yellow House Canyon in 1876 in Lubbock County and murdered a hunter in Post. The running battle that became known as "The Buffalo Hunter's War" was fought across the South Plains with major incidents in Garza and Lubbock counties and came to an end in Cochran County when Black Horse surrendered to Buffalo Soldiers out of Abilene . . . continued

The Long Trail: How cowboys & longhorns opened the West

Found Inside: "The cowboys rode back into Mobeetie and asked for men they knew had fled the town . Then they searched the town — for men they knew were not there. They said they might ride out to the hills . Another horseman rode out to inform the . . . Learn more

Houston Family Trail Ride 1885-1886Houston Family Trail Ride 1885-1886

Sometime between 1885 and 1886 Anthony Lambert Houston and his son Samuel S. Houston were on a trail ride somewhere in or near Lubbock Texas when they posed with three other cowboys for this photo  A. L.  Houston is seated with dark hat. His son is reclining with his boots off. . . . tap to see full size

Photo courtesy Margaret Deans Letzkus.

Chuck Wagon Crossing Dry River in 1908Chuck Wagon Crossing Dry River in 1908

In 1908 an unknown photographer captured this great old photo of a chuck and bedroll wagon crossing a dry river on the Matador Ranch

Black Cowboys of Texas

In the early days of Texas, the work of the cowhand was essential to the newly arrived settlers building a life on the frontier. The story of the Anglo cowboys who worked the ranches of Texas is well known, but much more remains to be discovered about the African American cowhands who worked side-by-side with the vaqueros and Anglo cowboys . . ." Read more Look inside

Cowboys Make a Mail Stop in 1907Cowboys Make a Mail Stop

In 1907 two cowboys in Oldham County Texas were caught on film anxiously going through mail searching for news from loved ones outside the ranch. View full size

Dean Post Office Was Actually a Cave

Cave Turned Into Post Office

When lonely cowboys on the Texas Panhandle longed for mail from home they carved individual boxes into a cave in 1892. It was the official Dean Post Office in Deaf Smith County from 1892 to 1899 . . . view larger and read more

Texas Cowboys: Memories of the Early Days

The thirty-three Depression-era interviews presented here were culled from the WPA-Federal Writers' Project. They faithfully show how old-time Texas cowhands lived and how they felt about their glamour-less existence ... Read more Look inside

Cattleman with His Horse at 1939 San Angelo AuctionCattleman with His Horse at 1939 San Angelo Auction

Cowboy stands with his horse at the coral of the San Angelo cattle auction in 1939

Zoom In

Line Camp & Headquarters Matador Ranch in 1908Line Camp & Headquarters Matador Ranch in 1908

In 1908 George Pattullo, writer and cowboy from Boston, waits for Harry Campbell, Matador cowboy, to finish saddling up in front of the line camp that served as original headquarters for the Matador ranch in the 1880's.

The Rounders

The bawdy and moving story of two contemporary bronco busters. Acclaimed for its realistic depiction of modern cowboying and for its humor, it is also a very serious work, described by the author as a tragicomedy. "Three months from my being twelve years old, my parents decided to leave the depression-and-destroyed town of Humble City and move to Andrews, just across the the New Mexico border in West Texas ". . . Read more Look inside

Branding Cattle on the Palo Duro Ranch in 1910Branding Cattle on the Palo Duro Ranch in 1910

Sometime in the 1910s eight cowboys from the Palo Duro Ranch near Silverton were photographed branding whiteface cattle. Note the cowboy in the forefront is wearing lace-up boots ... see for yourself

Matador Ranch Chuckwagon in 1906Matador Ranch Chuckwagon in 1906

Cook on the Matador Ranch in 1906 stirs a boiling pot under a tarp attached to the chuck wagon while a cowboy in the background is either eating something with both hands or playing his harmonica.

The Best Cowboy Stories Ever Told

"Mrs. Goodnight touched a soft spot in my heart by filling me up on several occasions with juicy berries which she had gathered with her own hands. at this writing Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Goodnight are still alive, and living in the town of Goodnight, Texas, which has been made famous as the home of the largest herd of buffalo in that state, and possibly the whole United States. The foundation of this herd of buffalo was started on the round-up in the spring of 1879 . . . Read more Look inside

Brownwood Rodeo in 1924Brownwood Rodeo in 1924

On July 23, 1924 an unknown photographer captured this huge live-action photo of a cowboy riding a bucking bronco at the Brownwood Rodeo

Cowboys at Escarbada Bunk House 1891Cowboys at Escarbada Bunk House 1891

From 1884 to 1890 James W Carter and his family were the only settlers in Castro County. Their nearest neighbors were at the Springlake and Escarbada divisions of the XIT Ranch. This photo is from the bunkhouse at Escarbada

Medicine and Cowboys Sixty Years Ago and Today's Politics

These disconnected notes were written after office hours, about cowboys, and medical practice sixty years ago, for the amusement of some of my older patients, who lived during that period here in West Texas area. Most of the old-timers are riding herd (now up in the sky). At a recent reunion that is held cacti summer, Colonel Goodnight suggested that a petition be presented to St. Peter requesting him to designate the sky over the West Texas Panhandle as the permanent home of the cowboys. It was pointed out that bow-legged cowboys . . . Read more

Jeff Davis BooneJeff Davis Boon

Former Matador Ranch cowboy and owner of the Dew Drop Saloon Jeff Davis Boone was fatally wounded in the Motley County courthouse in 1892 when he picked a fight with newly elected Motley county Sheriff Joe Beckham . On September 21, 1892, a grand jury indicted Beckham for assault to commit the murder of Jeff Boon. The district judge moved the case to Floyd County (Floydada) . . . Read more

The Last of The Old-Time Cowboys

Within the pages of this book these genuine legends who rode through a golden moment in American history live on. Working cowboys live on as genuine legends who rode through a golden moment in American history. In the 1980s historian/ author Patrick Dearen went looking for the last of these fading icons. . . . Read more

Dugout House on LS Ranch in 1907Dugout House on LS Ranch in 1907

When pioneers ventured on to the Texas panhandle they encountered an environment almost void of trees or other building materials. For shelter, they scooped out a hole in the ground, built short walls above ground with rocks or logs and roofed it with hides, sod or thatch. Dugouts were situated . . . Read more See full Size

Cowboys Break a Horse in 1907Cowboys Breaking a Horse in 1907

In 1907 two cowboys break a horse in one of the LS Ranch corrals in Oldham County Texas . . . Take a closer look

Cow Chips in the CookstoveCow Chips in the Cook Stove:

Tales from the Good Old Days in the Lower Texas Panhandle

Stories from the Texas plains and a peak over the shoulder of real cowboys and their struggles.

Black Cowboys in the American West: On the Range, on the Stage, behind the Badge

Who were the black cowboys? They were drovers, foremen, fiddlers, cowpunchers, cattle rustlers, cooks, and singers. They worked as wranglers, riders, ropers, bulldoggers, and bronc busters.

Johnson's memories of his childhood are sketchy, though he says that he often felt unwanted and that around the age of fifteen he went to work on another of Mr. Yost's ranches near Manchaca in Bastrop County. "They give me to them," he says. "they'd feed me, you know, shoe me and clothe me. And I did horseback riding, taking care of cattle ... Read more Look inside

Dalhart Cowgirls at the XIT Ranch Rodeo in 1930'sDalhart Cowgirls at the XIT Ranch Rodeo in 1930's

You may find your mother or grandmother looking back at you in this incredible photo from the 1930's

Cowboys in Saloon in Tascosa in 1907Cowboys in Saloon in Tascosa in 1907

Cowboys in full regalia stand at bar in saloon in Tascosa as barkeep looks a little incredulous at one mustached cowboy in 1907 in this highly detailed photo . . . zoom in

Palo Duro Canyon Ranch in 1910Palo Duro Canyon Ranch in 1910

This amazing photo of a cattle drive near Silverton Texas in 1910 appears to have been taken from horseback or from a camera mounted to the saddle of a very steady horse . . . look closer

Solon Love Owens, Texas Cowboy

An interesting story of life on a Texas ranch told by the daughter of Solon Love Owens born in 1894 including remembrances of his father, James W. Owens, born in 1855 . . . Read more

Man With Pet PigeonCowboy With His Pet Pigeon

In 1939 a cowboy shows off his pet pigeon at his home in Crystal City Texas. The photographer called this a pigeon but it looks more like a white-winged dove to me.

Deputy U.S. Marshal John Deskin Rhea with his WolvesDeputy U.S. Marshal John Deskin Rhea with his Wolves

Deputy U.S. Marshal John Deskin Rhea posed with his wolves under a tree in Antelope Flat sometime in the 1910s. John Deskin Rhea was a US Deputy Marshal, farmer and rancher in Briscoe County Texas. Born on March 19, 1848, Rhea ... View photo and read more

A Taste of Texas Ranching: Cooks and Cowboys

Found Inside: "On US 60, heading northeast from Amarillo, just before the town of Panhandle, sitting behind a protective fence, is Thomas Cree's "Little Tree," the first tree planted in the entire Texas Panhandle. This area was once a sea of grass. In 1888, a pioneer settler by the name of Thomas Cree lugged a sapling bois'darc from beyond the Cap Rock country and planted it by his dugout home ... " Read more Look inside

Cleaning Rifle at a Matador Ranch Line CampCleaning Rifle on Matador Ranch

In 1908 Harry Campbell cleans his Marlin rifle at a dugout line camp on the Matador Ranch in Texas

Staghounds on the Palo Duro Ranch in 1910Ranch Hounds on the Palo Duro Ranch in 1910

A lone cowboy tends to a pack of eight ranch hounds. Big, strong, fast and courageous, the hounds used by frontier hunters and ranchers belonged to a canine group called gazehounds, or sight hounds, which hunt primarily by sight and speed rather than smell and endurance, as scent hounds do. Three major breeds of gazehounds accompanied their owners to the American West in the 1800s . . . Read more see full size

Cowboy Spurs and Their Makers

"By the time they reached the Caprock and Motley County, they were footsore and hungry, so they put down their stakes at the settlement of Quitaque.  An indispensable part of any frontier town was the blacksmith shop, and young Bass opened his first shop at Quitaque in 1897"  . . . Read more

Ten Cowboys Near Clarendon Texas in 1900sTen Cowboys Near Clarendon Texas in 1900s

Nine cowboys on horseback and one on a wagon at a ranch near Clarendon, Texas in the late 1800s or early 1900s. Ranch buildings and a windmill can be seen in the background.

Texan and son sitting on fence at horse auction, Eldorado, Tx 1939Three Generations of Cowboys Watch Horse Auction in 1939
The Trail Drivers of Texas: Interesting Sketches of Early Cowboys

These are the chronicles of the trail drivers of Texas those rugged men and, sometimes, women who drove cattle and horses up the trails from Texas to northern markets in the late 1800s. ..."  Read more Look inside

Looking Horse in Mouth At Auction in 1939Looking Horse in Mouth At Auction in 1939

Straight from the Horses Mouth. In this huge photo an auctioneer looks into a horse's mouth to determine the age as hundreds of spectators watch.

Cowboys Eating Dinner in the 1910sCowboys Eating Dinner in the 1910s

Sometime in the 1910s thirteen cowboys from he O X Ranch sat down for supper near Paducah Texas

The Cowboy and His Elephant: The Story of a Remarkable Friendship

The next summer he worked for the legendary cattleman Colonel Jack Lapham on the Flying L Ranch in Bandera, Texas. Lapham was a fighter pilot in World War I and a flying instructor in World War II, and halfway through the summer, ... Read more Look inside

West Texan. Eldorado, Tx 1939West Texas Cowboy at Auction in Eldorado
Chuck and Bedroll Wagon Near Marfa in 1939Chuck and Bedroll Wagon Near Marfa

Two Cowboys ride a chuck and bedroll wagon near Marfa Texas in 1939

Making Circles: The Memoir of a Cowboy Journalist

"Another trick was to refer to horses that already had a reputation, so I also quoted rancher John Birdwell of Whiteface, Texas, who said, “He's an extraordinarily good hand. He broke a bunch of four- to six- year- old Binion horses for ..." Read more Look inside

C. H. Long in Life MagazineC. H. Long in Life Magazine

On August 22, 1949, LIFE magazine ran a cover photo of C.H. Long who was a thirty-nine year old foreman of the JA Ranch in Paducah, Texas. The magazine described the cowboy as “one of the most purely functional human beings the world has ever developed.” In 1954...read more

Matador Ranch Cowboys in 1940sMatador Ranch Cowboys in 1940s

Matador ranch hands pictured left to right have been identified as Unknown, Robert Thornton, Bill Hemphill, Wildhorse Melvin Warren (Wagon Boss), Rosie Deaton, Wishie Derickson, Alfred Irwin, Johnnie Cavitt, Cliff Stevens, Polecat Vinson (Cook), Unknown, and Ellis Key. Photo is from E.D. Smith Collection . . . see full size

Cowboy eating dinner aftoer roundupCowboy Eating Dinner After Roundup 1939

A weary cowboy eats from pewter plate after the roundup of 1939 in Presidio County Texas


Cowboys Outside Vega Cafe in 1950Cowboys Outside Vega Cafe in 1950

Three cowboys linger outside the Vega Cafe in 1950. Interesting gear can be seen and faces can be identified in this old photo . . .  Look closer

Self-Portrait of a Texas Cowboy: Ass Over Teakettle

Stories told and Illustrated by Brian Larremore and written by Jean Larremore

Brian was born in 1945 in Llano, Texas. His father, Wilma, and mother Lucille Larremore taught Brian responsibility at an early age. He grew up on horseback, on a pig farm, chasing coons up trees, fighting his brothers, and looking after his sister. Although he had a hard childhood, he never complained. He felt then, as he still feels, that his childhood taught him how to survive and make the most of bad situations . . . Read more Look inside

Chuck Wagon Passing Cars in Marfa in 1938

Amazing detail in this photo of a chuck wagon passing between two cars near Marfa Texas in 1938

Branding Cattle in Tom Green County in 1907Branding Cattle in Tom Green County in 1907

The Iron is hot for these cowboys near San Angelo in 1907. Branding was necessary to help ranchers identify new calves and to protect against rustlers.

Cowboy Watches Polo Match from Horse in 1939Cowboy Watches Polo Match from Horse 1939

In 1939 a cowboy threw his right leg over his saddle horn to watch a Polo match in Abilene Texas

Cowboy Fiddler

A cowboy, a ranch manager, an alumnus of Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys, and the leader of a western-swing band, Frankie McWhorter’s stories are endlessly entertaining.

Found inside: "I was drafted in the Army in '52. I'd been playing in a little band there at Samnorwood, Texas, between Shamrock and Memphis. Roger Miller took my place in that band . He'd grown up in Erick, Oklahoma, not too far from there, and he was a young blade then , learning ... " Read more Look inside

Cowboy Sharpens Knife 1939Cowboy sharpening knife near Marfa Tx 1939

Presidio County Cowboy Sharpens his pocket knife in 1939 as he prepares to turn young bulls into steers

John R Erickson

Born in Midland, Texas, Erickson is a cowboy and best selling author, best known for his Hank the Cowdog series of children's novels . . . continued

Cowboy Takes a Hard Fall in 1940Cowboy Takes a Hard Fall in 1940 at Midland, Texas Rodeo


The Spurs

Save for a very few, the true West Texas cowboy has ridden his last round - up. Gone are the dusty trail drive, the remote line camps, the fence riders, the open pasture brandings, and the chuck wagons. But stories of those bygone days remain, albeit far too few. Fortunately, a handful of those cowboys were also of the literary type. “Scotch Bill” Elliot was one of those. He had the foresight to record those stories . . . Read more

Presidio County cowboy tying up tarps 1939Presidio County cowboy tying up bedroll 1939

In this photo from 1939 a cowboy prepares to break camp by rolling up and tying the camp tarps.

Joe York on his horse Old GloryJoe York on his horse Old Glory

Popular rodeo cowboy Joe York competes in a roping event on his horse, Old Glory. He paid $200 for the horse which he borrowed from Snyder National Bank. . . . View full size Read more

Friona Texas CowboysFriona Texas Cowboys

In the late 1800s this postcard titled "FRIONA TEX. -- Cowboys See the March of Civilization" was circulated to promote the town

Still: Cowboys at the Start of the Twenty-First Century

The cowboy may well be the quintessential American icon. Spur Texas native Robb Kendrick has been photographing cowboys for twenty-five years, creating a magnificent artistic record that recalls the work of earlier photographers such as Edward S. Curtis, whose portraits of Native Americans have become classics. Kendrick even uses an early photographic process—tintype—to create one-of-a-kind photographs whose nineteenth-century appearance underscores . . . Read more

Cowboys sitting on fence Marfa Tx 1939Cowboys sitting on fence Marfa Tx 1939

Five Cowboys on a ranch near Marfa Texas posed on a corral fence in 1939

A Texas Cowboy, or, Fifteen Years on the Hurricane Deck of a Spanish Pony

Charles A. Siringo's dramatic and action-packed memoirs about life in the old American West are published here in full.

Cowboy at Ranch Rodeo in Midland County Texas  in 1939Cowboy at Midland County Ranch Rodeo in 1939


Buckaroo Cowboy in Mason in 1935 Buckaroo Cowboy in Mason in 1935

Born on January 14, 1932. His talent as an actor is already apparent in this photo. John Arch Carter grew up to become an Actor, Singer and Musician. . . Read more

Cowboys in Dumas Texas in 1910Cowboys in Dumas Texas in 1910

In 1910 ten cowboys lined up to pose for this huge highly detailed photo in Dumas Texas

The Best Cowboy Stories Ever Told

Found Inside: "Emanuel Dubbs, a buffalo hunter who took the hides off'n” many a bison, is authority for the statement that Brooks killed or wounded fifteen men in less than a month after his arrival. now Emanuel is a preacher (if he is still in the land of the living; i saw him last at Clarendon, Texas, ... " Read more Look inside

Horses in Benjamin 1924Horses in Benjamin 1924

In 1924 fourteen horses in their corral with one un-mounted cowboy managing them in the back in Benjamin Texas in 1924

Tank wagon near Marfa 1939Tank Wagon Near Marfa 1939

A cowboy straddles the tank on a wagon pulled by two mules up an incline on a highway in Marfa in 1939. The tanker wagon has a utility wagon attached and is followed by another wagon.

Cowboy Reclines in Wagon on Highway to MarfaCowboy Reclines in Wagon on Highway to Marfa

In 1939 a cowboy reclined in his wagon on the  highway to Marfa Texas as two mules pull him to the top of the hill.

Cowhands and Cattle Near Matador in 1900Cowhands and Cattle in Matador in 1900

It was a Peaceful day on the Matador Ranch when this image was captured of two cowhands tending cattle in Motley County Texas in 1900

Spur Ranch in Dickens County in 1908Spur Ranch in Dickens County in 1908


Rollie Burns: or, An Account of the Ranching Industry on the South Plains

In 1925, when Rollie Burns turned sixty-eight, like many old-timers he decided it was time to write down his reminiscences of a long, full life on the West Texas plains. Born in 1857 in Missouri, he had been brought to Texas by his parents about the beginning of the Civil War, and he grew up near Denison, then the only shipping point on the cattle trail north and a fascinating place for boys who were to become cowboys . . . Read more

Matador Ranch Bunkhouse in 1908Matador Ranch Bunkhouse in 1908

At the Matador Ranch Bunkhouse in 1908 four cowboys and a lady posed with the ranch hounds

Mexican cowboy on ranch near Marfa, Tx 1939Mexican cowboy on ranch near Marfa 1939


SMS Ranch in Dickens County in May 1939 SMS Ranch in Dickens County in May 1939

Great old action shot of cowboys at work on the SMS ranch in Dickens County Texas in May 1939

6000 Miles of Fence

The fabulous XIT Ranch has been celebrated in song, story, and serious history. This book of reminiscences of old XIT cowmen puts on record the everyday life of the individuals who made the ranch run. Found Inside: "Henry Eubanks, foreman of the Rito Blanco in the 1890's, turned away from ranching, becoming a county judge in Channing. Eubanks was remembered kindly by the hands because he had two eligible daughters, he personally disagreed as to their eligibility, particularly when his Lulu was mentioned. The cowboys joked frequently that  . . . " Read more Look inside

Cowboys Washing Clothes in 1905Cowboys Washing Clothes in 1905

In 1905 three cowboys wash their clothes and hang them to dry wherever they can on the open prairie of the Matador Ranch in Motley County Texas

Branding a Horse in Winkler County in 1906Branding a Horse in Winkler County in 1906

In 1906, three cowboys struggle to put the W Brand on a horse while three watch in this huge very clear image of life on the ranch in Winkler County Texas

Sheep Ranch in Kimble County Tx 1940

"Cowboys" herd sheep and goats on ranch in Kimble County.


Thinkin' It Over

The memoirs of Jack Douglas. After a life spent as a cowboy and ranch hand throughout the South Plains of Texas, he now ranches in Hockley and Bailey Counties raising registered Brangus cattle and manages a commercial Hereford and Hereford cross herd. He and his wife Dorothy have two grown sons, Dave and Cody.

Charlie Bird

As a boy, Charlie ran away from his home in Erath County to work for the Pitchfork Ranch in Dickens County. In 1885 he hired on with the Matador Ranch as a line rider in Motley County . . . continued

Unknown Cowboy

Do you recognize this West Texas cowboy? His picture has been in hundreds of magazines and newspapers all over the world. The unknown cowboy was working on the SMS Ranch near Spur, Texas  in 1939 when . . . read more.

Gunfight at Cotton Mott

The names Jim Barbey and Jim Harkey might have faded into obscurity if not for an incident over Harkey singing "Yankee Doodle" at the Cottonwood Mott Line Camp in 1880 . . . read more

Cowboys in Blanco Canyon, Floyd County Texas in 1904Cowboys Gather in Blanco Canyon, Floyd County Texas in 1904

Cowboys, their horses, corrals, barns, and bunkhouse can be seen in this amazing photo taken in the Blanco Canyon south of Floydada in 1904.

. . . look closer

Songs of the Cowboys

This was the first cowboy song book published in America, and Thorp's lyrics were the beginning of the popularization of the American cowboy. This book lists 24 songs that can be learned and sung today. "The town was Anson City -- old Jones' County Seat. Where they raised Poled Angus cattle and waving whiskered wheat. Where the air is soft and balmy and dry and full of health. And the prairies is exploding with agricultural wealth . . .  Read more Look inside

J. Frank NorfleetJ. Frank Norfleet

Hale County Rancher and Farmer who at age 55 became a famous manhunter and captured a gang of conmen who had swindled him out of $45,000 in 1919 . . . read more

Brewster County Cowboy at Beer Hall in 1939Brewster County Cowboy at Beer Hall 1939

In 1939 a Cowboy in Brewster County was caught relaxing with a beer in a local bar. The sign above his hat says TRUST YOU? TOMORROW ... maybe!

. . . Zoom in for a closer look

Texas Cattle Barons: Their Families, Land and Legacy

The Moorhouse brothers are known as Cowboys, with a capital C. Tom, John, Ed and Bob are sons of of the late Togo Moorhouse, widely known rancher and and cattle buyer. They have deep roots in the business , their grandfather having run cattle in the Indian Nations before moving to King County, Texas. Though the brothers still cling to many time - honored ways and do not consider themselves innovators . . . Read more

Cowboys In Beer Hall in Alpine, Texas 1939

Two cowboys down beers at a bar in Alpine Texas in 1939 while an older cowboy watches with disapproval and reaches for a smoke. Alpine Lumber Company calendar hangs on wall next to antelope horns . . . see full size

Cowboy Looks at Spurs Display in 1939Cowboy Looks at Spurs Display

In 1939 in Alpine Texas a cowboy kneeled down to get a closer look at the spurs on display in a glass case . . . take a closer look

Marisue and Teen Burleson 1945Marisue Burleson and her brother Stanley (Teen) Burleson in 1945

Marysue Burleson and her brother Stanley "Teen" Burleson grew up on a large ranch near Matador and Floydada. The ranch is still owned and operated by the Burleson family.

Cowboys and Cattleland: Memoirs of a Frontier Cowboy

First published in this edition in 1937, in “Cowboys and Cattleland,” author and cattle rancher H. H. Halsell tells of growing up in Wise County, Texas, where his father drove cattle to Kansas each year, and how, when Halsell was old enough, he and his brother began driving cattle to Kansas. He shares his stories of Indian raids, the great cattle trails, big game hunting . . . Read more Look inside

Three Cowboys on Horseback in Hall County Texas 1895Cowboys on Horseback in Hall County Texas in 1895

Three well dressed cowboys on their horses in this photo from 1895 in Hall County Texas. One horse appears to have bolted at flash . . . take a look

Cowboy Relaxes in Cafe Booth in 1939Cowboy Relaxes in Cafe Booth

In 1939 a cowboy kicked back with a beer in his booth at a local cafe in Alpine Texas

Cow People

by J. Frank Dobie

Found inside: Lee Moore, born in 1856 among original settlers of Williamson County, Texas, wrote, "In 1851, when my uncle Jack Elliott started to the War of the Rebellion, or maybe it was to Mexico, he gave me an old cow and a little calf, and my father gave me a pony and a bridle and a sheepskin for a saddle. My cowboy uniform consisted of a straw hat and long hickory shirt; so at five years of age I was a cattle owner equipped for business, but that winter the old cow died . . . " Read more

Saddle Shop in 1939 Alpine TexasSaddle Shop in Alpine Texas

In a Saddle Shop in Alpine Texas in 1939 a cowboy examines halters, bits chaps and more hanging from the wall ... Large photo see it full size

Three Cowboys in Alpine Texas Bar 1939Three Cowboys in Alpine Texas Bar 1939

Troy Baker recognized the cowboy on the right as his great grandfather Ray Ogle and Wadene Musgrave identified the one in the center as her father, Joe Musgrave when they saw this picture on the Facebook group West Texas History & Memories . . . see it full size

Thomas Everett Blasingame, known as Tom Blasingame was a Texas cowboy for seventy-three years. At ninety-one, he was still on the job at the JA Ranch in Armstrong County Texas  . . . learn more about Tom Blasingame
Charles Goodnight

Charles Goodnight

Born March 5, 1836, Charles Goodnight is possibly the best known rancher in Texas. He is sometimes known as the "Father of the Texas Panhandle." After building his first temporary living quarters in Palo Duro Canyon in Randall County in 1876, Goodnight built a comfortable three-room ranch house farther to the southeast in Armstrong County . . . More about Charles Goodnight

Tied Hard and Fast: Apache Adams-Big Bend Cowboy

By Don Cadden

"In our leggings' pockets we'd each stashed guns. I'd packed a .357 magnum pistol, and José had a .22 pistol. When we got close to the wax camp, José said he thought they would have a trap set for us, and we'd be outnumbered. We both agreed that the best thing we could do was to keep our mouths shut under the circumstances . . . read more

Sweetwater Texas Bull Rider in 1930sSweetwater Texas Bull Rider in 1930s

Amazing close-up photo of a determined cowboy riding a bull in in a rodeo in Sweetwater Texas in the 1930s . . . zoom in

Panhandle Cowboy

First published in 1980, this classic description of the cowboy life by master storyteller John Erickson is now back in print. His observations about the Crown Ranch in particular, and the cowboy lifestyle in general, are filled with humor as well as pathos. Erickson describes the ranch, individual cowboys, roundups, wild cattle, and horses. "I met him in August 1971, when my wife, Kris, and I visited the Lawrence Ellzey family at their ranch on Wolf Creek southeast of Perryton, Texas. . . . Read more Look inside

Sweetwater Chuck Wagon Association Members 1930sSweetwater Chuck Wagon Association Members 1930s


Hot Biscuits: Eighteen Stories by Women and Men of the Ranching West

Jimbo Brewer says,' he kept the "wolf away from the door by catching wild cattle and breaking horses.  As a teenager he worked on the VS Ranch Ranch owned by his grandfather on Kiowa Creek in Ochiltree County Texas ... He's done a lot more cowboying than writing, butt has had his work published in Cowboy Magazine, various newspapers, and shared as short radio commentaries called "Ramblins" ... Read more

Cowboys talking at horse auction, Eldorado, Tx 1939Talking it Over at Horse Auction in  Eldorado in  1939
Friends: Cowboys, Cattle, Horses, Dogs, Cats, and ‘Coons

Here under one cover are the collected writings of John R. Erickson about characters who have entered his life on the High Plains country of the Texas Panhandle. Erickson writes with authority about ranching and cowboying in the modern era, always with an eye for the humor of everyday incidents. Some of his friends are widely known, such as artist Ace Reid and noted fiddle player Frankie McWhorter. Others are cowboys who work the big ranches between the Canadian and Beaver Rivers. They share the stage with some of Erickson's four-legged friends: the Phantom Cow, Texie, the Incredible Burping Dog, an Arabian horse called Dandy, Callie the cat, and Eddy the raccoon . . . Read more Look inside

Horesmen sitting on fence Eldorado, Tx 1939Horsemen Sitting on Fence in Eldorado Texas

In 1939 dozens of horse traders perched on a fence at a horse auction in Eldorado Texas while one scratched a young mule between the ears

The Chronicles of Tap

"The Chronicles of Tap is a true story of the life of a cowboy, Tap Duncan, born in the heart of Texas in 1869. The story tells of certain struggles in his life that marked him to be the great man he became. Much of this story is from old journals found in the attic of a house the author purchased in 1981. This amazing story tells of Tap Duncan;s brother being hanged in Eagle Pass, Texas in 1891 accused of a murder he didn't commit. Tap and his brothers quietly investigate and then "Take Care" of the real murderers ..." Read more Look inside

Sunset CarsonSunset Carson

Sunset Carson was born on November 12, 1920 as Winifred Maurice Harrison and grew up Plainview Texas. In his youth he was an accomplished rodeo rider and became a cowboy movie star in the 1940s ... read more

Rich Grass and Sweet Water: Ranch Life With the Koch Matador Cattle Company

by John Lincoln

The myth of the cowboy is powerful in American folklore, but the real life of the cowboy was hard, lonely, and rewarding, if one was seeking the less tangible rewards of being close to nature. The modern cowboy or ranch hand uses different methods but works the land with the same love as the icons of the Old West did... John Lincoln went from bookkeeper to president of the Matador Cattle Company, and his view along the way to the top plus his digging into the company founder's files provide the basis for this look at one modern ranching enterprise and its... He lives in Roaring Springs, Texas . . . Read more

McAdoo Cowboys in 1911 Dickens County Texas 1911McAdoo Cowboys in 1911 Dickens County Texas

In 1911 nine cowboys (probably from the Pitchfork Ranch) posed for this amazing photo in McAdoo Texas. The original photo was given to my grandmother, Ludie Mills Sanderson by her brother Sid Mills and then passed down to my mother, Elna Sanderson Bloys. Sid Mills worked on the Pitchfork ranch for most of his life.

Saddling Up Anyway: The Dangerous Lives of Old-Time Cowboys

Every time a cowhand dug his boot into the stirrup, he knew that this ride could carry him to trail's end. In real stories told by genuine cowboys, this book captures the everyday perils of the "flinty hoofs and devil horns of an outlaw steer, the crush of a half-ton of fury in the guise of a saddle horse, the snap of a rope pulled taut enough to sever digits. . . . Found inside: "Cross-B cowhand Fran Smith planting his boot on a roped maverick in Crosby County, Texas about 1909 " Read more Look inside

Spur Ranch Cowboys around Hoodlum Wagon in 1910Spur Ranch Cowboys around Hoodlum Wagon in 1910

Eight Cowboys gather around the Hoodlum wagon on the Spur Ranch in 1910. One of the cowboys looks to be about 10 years old. A hoodlum wagon was a specialty wagon used for hauling branding irons, tent posts and other gear. The Spur Ranch had its beginning in 1878 . . . Read more View full size

Some Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys: A Collection of Articles and Essays

by John R Erickson

John Richard Erickson is an American cowboy and author, best known for his Hank the Cowdog series of children's novels. Born in Midland, Texas, he was reared in Perryton in the northern Texas Panhandle. This collection is arranged by Place; From Buffalo to Cattle; The Cowboy; Cowboy Tools; Ranch and Rodeo; Animals; and This and That. "She was every inch a proper lady, but beneath the lace and muslin she was made of steel. In 1880 they left the green and fertile lands in Ohio and followed Reverend Paris Cox to Crosby County, Texas . . . Read more Look inside

Chuck Wagon on ranch near Spur, Texas in 1939Chuck wagon on ranch near Spur, Tx 1939

Chuck Wagon on ranch near Spur, Texas in 1939 with dining area for cowboys under tarpaulin for shade . . . see full size

High Plains Yesterdays: From XIT Days Through Drouth and Depression

The northernmost portion of the Texas Panhandle, the Dalhart High Plains area, is perhaps best known for its legendary cold weather. To many it is famed for the three-million-acre XIT Ranch, and many early residents of the Dalhart area spent their youthful years as cowboys on the ranch. From about 1901 to about 1939, those living in the High Plains area witnessed and took part in its transition from a purely cattle-raising empire to a cattle and farming empire. Only venturesome, independent, and self-reliant people were willing to cast their fate with the High Plains. In "High Plains Yesterdays," John C. Dawson, a retired Houston lawyer who grew up in Dalhart, captures the personalities and characters of some . . . Read more

Cook of the SMS Ranch 1939Cook of the SMS Ranch Dickens County Tx 1939
The Poems of a Cowboy Preacher

Lee Brock was born in Lamesa, Texas, in October 1923. His parents were cotton farmers on the plains of Texas where he learned about hard work, wind, windmills, horses, cattle and the beauty of nature. In school he learned to express his thoughts about his life in poems. He was saved, baptized, and called to preach in a revival at Seminole, Texas, in 1938 . . . Read more Look inside

Cowboys Gather around Wagon in 1939

Cowboys gather around wagon loaded with brush in Dickens County in 1939. The older cowboy was a top hand nicknamed Shorty who worked for ranches across the area.

. . . Zoom in

If I Can Do It Horseback: A Cow-Country Sketchbook

John Hendrix, a native Texan, lived in the West Texas of which he wrote for most of his life. His articles appeared in West Texas Today, The Hereford Journal, and other publications, in addition to The Cattleman. Hendrix died in Sweetwater in 1952 at the age of sixty-four.

Here are accurate, detailed, fascinating descriptions of the day-to-day life of the cowboy, the chuck-wagon cook, the range boss: narratives rich in human interest, in pathos, comedy, drama. . . Read more Look inside

Cowboy Takes a Nap in Bunkhouse in 1939Cowboy Takes a Nap in Bunkhouse in 1939

In 1939 a cowboy from the SMS ranch settles down for a quick nap in his bunkhouse in this rare look into the inside of a bunkhouse in Dickens County . . . zoom in

A Cowboy of the Pecos

by Patrick Dearen

"When Walter Boren signed on with a Crane County ranch a few miles east of Horsehead Crossing about 1916, there were only about six women, married or single, in the entire 782-square-mile county. 'Wasn't no place for a woman out there in that ..." Read more Look inside

Cowboy Petting His Horse In 1939Cowboy Petting His Horse In 1939

In this iconic photo of a cowboy and his horse the bond between the two is crystal clear . . . See it full size

The LS Brand: The Story of a Texas Panhandle Ranch

Drawing upon stories told to her by men and women who were with the LS during the 1880’s and later years, Dulcie Sullivan presents her narrative in a clear, straightforward, but sympathetic manner that gives the reader a vivid sense of how life was really lived there in those times. "The LS Ranch was cut in half, and grass in Deaf Smith County that had been used by Lee and Scott now belonged to the XIT. The tenure of free-range rights was over in the Panhandle, and disgusted cowboys swore bobwire had ruined the country"  . . . Read more Look inside

Old Cowboy on SMS Ranch in 1939Old Cowboy on SMS Ranch in 1939

Booger: The Story of a Cowboy and His Dog

Action and adventure set in the Old West, as told by the cowboy who lived it. A young lady is kidnapped by Kiowa Indians and a Texas lawman pursues the Indians with his trusty mule and his imported Rottweiler, Booger. Found inside: "... in Truscott, Texas last fall. That blue eyed devil you have bound so well, with that grass rope bow tie around his neck, if that's the Bob Logan your referring to, here I stand . He was never off the ranch the whole time we were together ..." Read more Look inside

Interior shot of bunkhouse on the SMS ranch shows everything a cowboy needed in 1939

Bunkhouse Interior in Dickens County in 1939

Interior shot of bunkhouse on the SMS ranch shows everything a cowboy needed in 1939

The Whorehouse Bells Were Ringing and Other Songs Cowboys Sing

Found Inside: According to Thorp , he was working as a cowboy trailing a herd of cattle from Chimney Lake , New Mexico to Higgins, Texas, when one night by campfire he wrote “ Little Joe , ” using a pencil stub on a paper bag and the tune of . . . Read more Look inside

Cowboy Eating in Front of Chuck Wagon in 1939Cowboy Eating Lunch Beside Chuck Wagon

Cowboy from the SMS Ranch in Dickens County eats from a pewter plate in front of the chuck wagon before heading into town in 1939

Windmills, Drouths and Cottonseed Cake: A Biased Biography of a West Texas Rancher

John Furman Haley lived from 1897 to 1972, from wagon roads to superhighways, from chugging locomotives to rocket-powered journeys in outer space. He was a West Texas rancher, and his attitude epitomized the creed of western ranchers and cowboys of his time.

Found Inside: "Rain at last : the drouth, which began in 1917 , finally broke in 1922 , and Papa Haley restocked the Loving County ranch . That was in June, and John , apparently with no regrets , tore himself away from the seething activity of the ..." Read more

Ranch Near Pecos in 1930sRanch Near Pecos in 1930s

In the 1930s an unknown photographer produced this iconic image of cowboys herding cattle near Pecos Texas for a postcard

John Ringo, King of the Cowboys: His Life and Times from the Hoo Doo War to Tombstone

"As a young man he became embroiled in the blood feud turbulence of post-Reconstruction Texas. The Mason County “Hoo Doo” War in Texas began as a war over range rights, but it swiftly deteriorated into blood vengeance and spiraled out of control as the body count rose. In this charnel house Ringo gained a reputation as a dangerous gunfighter and man killer. He was proclaimed throughout the state as a daring leader, a desperate man, and a champion of the feud. Following incarceration for his role in the feud, Ringo was elected as a lawman in Mason County, the epicenter of the feud’s origin..." Read more Look inside

Ring Race in Emma Texas in 1905Ring Race in Emma Texas  in 1905

John Wheeler is pictured competing in a ring race in Emma Texas in 1905. The ring race is one of several horseback games played in the Southwest. Cowboys tried to skewer tiny dangling rings with a short lance.

Pronger Ranch near Stratford Texas in 1908Pronger Ranch near Stratford Texas in 1908

In 1908 a photographer climbed a windmill to capture this peaceful scene of cattle and cowboys on the Pronger Ranch

Pioneer Stories from E. A. (Doc) SteelePioneer Stories from E. A. (Doc) Steele

Old Time Cowboy Tells Stories about Early Days in Kerr County Texas. This story is about how a German Immigrant Held Off 100 Comanche Raiders. Published April 24 1909 in The Kerrville Mountain Sun . . . read the article

Lizzie Campbell - Angel of the Matador

Lizzie Campbell followed her husband, Henry H. Campbell to the Matador Ranch in 1880. At the time, she was one of only two women in the area. Her loving care of the cowboys in the area earned her the nickname "Angel of the Matador." . . . more about Lizzie

Murdo MackenzieMurdo Mackenzie - Matador Ranch manager 1891-1903

Born in the highlands of Scotland in 1850, by 1891 he was managing the Matador Land and Cattle Cattle Company. What he did there made him one of the world's great cattle kings. Read more

Clarence Hailey Long Jr

Clarence Hailey Long Jr.

Born January 9, 1910 in Paducah Texas. In 1949 C H Long was just a hard working cowboy on the sprawling JA Ranch in West Texas. Within days his rugged face became the most recognized face in America and remained so into the late 1950's . . . more about this quiet cowboy

Herd of Cattle near Quitaque Texas in 1912Herd of Cattle near Quitaque Texas in 1912

In 1912 an un-named photographer captured this huge iconic image of a large herd of cattle near Quitaque Texas with a lone cowboy hurrying in the background to get ahead of his herd

Cowboy in Mid-Air in Canyon in 1943Cowboy in Mid-Air in Canyon in 1943

In 1943 an unknown photographer from a high perch captured this amazing photo of a cowboy in mid-air in Canyon Texas

Girls Riding Horses Sidesaddle in Canyon in 1908Girls Riding Horses Sidesaddle in Canyon in 1908

Sometime in April 1908 three young women mounted their side-saddles and posed for this photo postcard in Canyon Texas

Palo Duro Rodeo - Earing Him DownPalo Duro Rodeo - Earing Him Down

In the 1940s four cowboys attempt to hold a wild horse using a technique called earing down while another cowboy stands ready to put a saddle on the horse for this rodeo on the Palo Duro Ranch Rodeo

OS Ranch Cowboys near Post Texas in 1888OS Ranch Cowboys near Post Texas in 1888

Shown left to Right: Oscar Kelly, Joe Smith, Bud Boren, Hal McCarty, F. E. (Bud) Marable and Willie Williams ... see full size

Colonel Cody and the Flying Cathedral: The Adventures of the Cowboy Who Conquered the Sky

"... not least the burgeoning body of evidence on the cattlemen with whom he claims to have worked, the "hash-knife" cowboys'. In July 1882 the first herd of cattle to complete the 1,200-mile journey from Seymour, Texas . . . Read more Look inside

Cowboy Wisdom

Collected from real-life and movie cowboys and cowgirls, Cowboy Wisdom covers such topics as Love and Horses and Greenhorns, Tenderfeet, and other Amusements.

"And what to do with the rest of the prickly pear: If water is muddy and you wish to settle it, peel off stickers and [the] outside of the pear, slice, and scatter over the top of the water. They will soon sink to the bottom, carrying the sediment down with them. —COLONEL CHARLES GOODNIGHT Goodnight, Texas 1930 . . .Read more Look inside

The Pencil Drawings of Joe Belt

by Joe Belt from Lubbock

Cowboys, frontiersmen, and Indians live and work in the Southwest that Joe Belt re-creates in a real-life tapestry of mythic proportion . . . read more

Traildust: Cowboys, Cattle and Country : The Art of James Reynolds


Tom Ryan and the cowboys of the 6666 Ranch



West Texas History & Memories

Early Life in Texas County by County

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Amazing People from Texas County by County

Texas History in the 19th Century (Amazon)

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What's your Favorite Book about a Texas County, Town, Person or Place? Here's our best reads list County by County


Mysterious TexasTrue Stories of Amazing People and Places in Texcas
 Loneliest, Least Populated Counties in Texas
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