The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956 Page: 520
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
cattle industry across vast ranges from which the buffalo had just
been swept away. He was an explorer, a pathfinder, a builder of
Even without the embroidery of legend, the authors note, the
cowboy was an admirable figure. He was a superb horseman,
skilled in the arts of his work, and capable of great endurance.
His tasks on the range and on the trail often brought excitement
and danger. He engaged at times in range wars against fencers,
nesters, and sheepmen. Finally he adapted his ways to a changing
order that only faintly resembles that of the open range.
To this figure, heroic enough in real life, writers of Western
stories and scenarios have added an overlay of myths. They have
made the cow hand a miraculous marksman, an embodiment of
courage, a terror to redskins, and a rescuer of virtuous women.
They have given him a foil in the frontier bad man-often a cow-
boy who has gone wrong because of some injustice but who re-
tains the virtues of a Robin Hood.
Perhaps the most valuable service of Frantz and Choate in their
book is to round up the literature on the cowboy. They show
that the fiction is not limited to gunsmoke melodramas but
includes a number of memorable novels, particularly The Log of
a Cowboy by Andy Adams. They point out that the nonfiction
works embrace not only The Longhorns by J. Frank Dobie, and
We Pointed Them North by E. C. (Teddy Blue) Abbott, but
many other works of historical value.
Noteworthy among the merits of The American Cowboy are its
illustrations, which make use of sixteen outstanding photographs
by the late Erwin E. Smith, who pictured typical range scenes
half a century ago. For those tired of the Hollywood or drugstore
cowboy, this book is a welcome tonic. It brings to life a saddle-
sore puncher more real than the mythical one and more satisfy-
ing to those who have progressed beyond adolescence.
The authors foresee no diminution in the popularity of their
hero. "Clad in boots and chaps, armed with his six-shooter, and
stone broke, the Western cowboy rides gloriously on, riding not
into the limbo of the past but apparently, more vigorous than
ever, into the long future. The range rider is a myth, but he is
a myth possessing a living and present reality in the American
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956, periodical, 1956; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/m1/552/: accessed July 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.