The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963

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Twilight on the Range: Recollections of a Latterday Cowboy. By
William Timmons. Austin (University of Texas Press),
1962. Pp. 223. Index, photographs. $4.95-
Twilight on the Range is essentially a book of memoirs, and as
such, makes for fine reading. Timmons has a good story and he
tells it personably, unpretentiously, and, at times, with astonishing
honesty, e.g., "By pulling leather whenever I could find it I
stayed on .. " (p. 75). Timmons life as a cowboy was typical.
There are the usual experiences with onery cattle, quicksand,
brutal weather, and beloved horses. So far as the people of the
west are concerned, Timmons emphasizes the good ones, which
is a refreshing, and, in the reviewer's opinion, an accurate, em-
phasis. Timmons leaves no doubt that he thoroughly enjoyed the
life of a cowboy despite (partly because of?) its hardships, which
is likewise refreshing in an age when to be maladjusted is to be
fashionable. But beyond entertainment, serious students of the
range country will find the work worth their while.
Timmons began cowboying earnestly in 1892 when, as a lad
of fourteen years, he went to work on Charles Goodnight's Cross J
Ranch. Four years later, Timmons headed for the tall grass ranges
of North Dakota where he remained, with short interruptions,
until his last day as a working cowboy in 1910. Thus, the author's
cowboy career began as the golden era of the cowboy ended; the
open range virtually was gone in the Texas Panhandle by 1892, and
Timmons witnessed the change from open to closed range in
North Dakota. His observations therefore relate to this important
transitional phase of range history, and since Timmons worked
in both the Panhandle of Texas and North Dakota, to two im-
portant regions of the cattle country. In this connection it is
interesting to note that Timmons encountered a sufficient num-
ber of Texas cowmen in North Dakota to indicate a significant
Texan influence upon the development of the northern ranges.
There are occasional diversions from the main trail of personal
experience into various aspects of range lore and technique. For

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed September 19, 2014.