127 photos
Cowboys & Trailblazers

In the mid 19th Century the American cowboy has occupied a place sufficiently important to entitle him to a considerable share of public attention. His occupation wis unique. In the exercise of his function he is always a man on horseback. His duty as a worker in the cattle business is at times to ride over the range in order to see that straying cattle do not rove too far from the assigned limits of time herd of which lie has charge; at times to drive the herd from one locality to another; and at times to round up the dispersed cattle, by which is meant to collect them together for the purpose of branding calves, or of selecting beef cattle, which latter are driven to railroad stations for shipment to market. The chief qualifications of efficiency in this calling are courage, physical alertness, ability to endure exposure and fatigue, horsemanship, and skill in the use of the lariat.

The original cowboy of this country was essentially a creature of circumstance, and mainly a product of western and southwestern Texas. Armed to the teeth, booted and spurred, long-haired, and covered with the broad brimmed sombrero the distinctive badge of his calling, his personal appearance proclaimed the sort of man he was.

12-year-old girl herding cattle in Oklahoma

12-year-old girl herding cattle in Oklahoma

A Bad Hoss, 1905

A Bad Hoss, 1905

A Dash for the Timber by Frederic Remington

A Dash for the Timber by Frederic Remington

A Quiet Day in Utica

A Quiet Day in Utica

Abilene, KS - Loading Cattle

Abilene, KS - Loading Cattle

Aiding a Comrade

Aiding a Comrade

Aztec Cowboys, 1877

Aztec Cowboys, 1877

Bonham, TX - Bronco Buster, 1907

Bonham, TX - Bronco Buster, 1907

Bonham, TX - Chuck Wagon on the Move, 1906

Bonham, TX - Chuck Wagon on the Move, 1906

Bonham, TX - Erwin E. Smith on Bucking Bronco.

Bonham, TX - Erwin E. Smith on Bucking Bronco.

Bonham, TX - Erwin E. Smith, Cowboy Photographer

Bonham, TX - Erwin E. Smith, Cowboy Photographer

Bonham, TX - Horse Wrangler

Bonham, TX - Horse Wrangler

Bonham, TX - Saddling the Bronc, 1907

Bonham, TX - Saddling the Bronc, 1907

Bonham, TX - The Stray Man, 1907

Bonham, TX - The Stray Man, 1907

Branding cattle, 1891

Branding cattle, 1891

Break time

Break time

Buccaroos, 1905

Buccaroos, 1905

Bucking Broncho

Bucking Broncho

Bucking bronco, 1908

Bucking bronco, 1908

Bucking bronco, Cheyenne, WY, 1911

Bucking bronco, Cheyenne, WY, 1911

Guestbook for Cowboys & Trailblazers
De Lewellen(non-registered)
I have so enjoyed looking at the photographs here. My gr gr grandfather was a trail driver on the Chisholm Trail. He drove herds from Lockhart, Texas up the trail for twenty years. His name was Mark Withers. To me his legend is larger than life.
Thanks for celebrating these men and woman that helped form the American West.
Paul Gilon(non-registered)
This is simply great. Thank you for the wonderful photographs. The "Fallen Cowboy" one is particularly meaningful because, aside from customary squabbles and personal issues, it clearly shows the camaraderie and concern cowboys had for each other. In this photograph all four mounted cowboys are rushing to their fallen companion. One cowboy is even shown dismounting while the horse is still moving. An incredible message.