Book Reviews and Notices
The Day of the Cattleman. By Ernest Staples Osgood. Minne-
apolis: The University of Minnesota Press, Pp. XIV, 283.
Ernest S. Osgood has written a history of the ranges over which
Granville Stuart and John Clay once rode, and about which both
of these cowmen later wrote. And though the book is a scientific
product, lacking the intimate insight of Clay's My Life on the
Range, and the narrative charm of Stuart's Forty Years on the
Frontier, it possesses evident detachment and an understanding of
the problems of the cattle ranges. As the first serious treatment
of the northern half of the cow country it presents an abundance
of fresh material and, besides filling an academic need, is a book
that every "puncher" of statistical and historical cows will find
illuminating and of interest.
The study is somewhat more restrictive than the title indicates,
treating, not of the cow country as a whole, but only of the great
northern portion in western Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming and
Colorado from its birth, in the seventies, to its transition into a
pursuit of barbed wire enclosures and accessory hay lots. Chrono-
logically, the title is unusually appropriate, as this period of the
entire western range country was really the day of the cowman.
Unlike the beginnings of the pursuit in Texas about a hundred
years before, road ranches along the western emigrant trails became
the first ranches of the north. The demands for beef from mining
camps, army posts, and railroad construction crews did much to
turn northern frontiersmen to ranching. The first ranches of
Wyoming and Montana were stocked with cattle from emigrant
trains, from cut-back freight stock, Mormon herds and, in part,
from cattle driven in from California and Oregon.
Soon after the Civil War railroads were offering an avenue to
market, the Texas Trail movement was in full swing, furnishing
hundreds of thousands of stock cattle to the northern ranges, in-
spiriting the cowboys who "drove the trail," even as it was to in-
trigue those who were to write about it many years later. "To
all those who saw that long line of Texas cattle come up over a
rise in the prairie," remarks Osgood, "nostrils wide for the smell
of water, dust-caked and gaunt, so ready to break from the nervous
control of the riders strung out along the flanks of the herd, there
came the feeling that in this 'spectacle there was something ele-
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 34, July 1930 - April, 1931. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101091/. Accessed July 28, 2014.