The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986 Page: 571

Book Reviews

included useful maps and an extensive bibliography, especially helpful
to scholars of pioneer days in the Texas Panhandle.
Schofield's biography brings to mind some tantalizing questions about
Lee that go untouched. How did a poor Yankee, whose widowed mother
was evicted for nonpayment of taxes, scrape up enough cash to become
a partner in an Indian trading concession? (Did he find unusual oppor-
tunities in being a quartermaster?) Why did a cattleman suddenly de-
cide to promote a deep-water port project-or who promoted him?
How can Lee, whose oil fortune in fact rested primarily on royalty in-
come rather than on exploration, be considered a great entrepreneur
of the Texas oil industry? Lee was surely not the first to discover the
impossibility of drilling through lost drill pipe at the bottom of a hole.
He was no innovator in drilling shallow wells. Given the size of what he
found at Spindletop, it is doubtful his production paid for operations,
much less exploration. Certainly Lee did not drill his wells from cash
flow, so whose money did he lose: his own or other people's?
As colorful a character as Lee was, some readers may question Scho-
field's consistently favorable appraisal of his actions. In his plying In-
dians with guns and liquor, his cooperation in bribing federal officials,
and his use of the trust device in setting up an oil venture, Lee seems to
have been the kind of swashbuckling capitalist that gave the Gilded Age
its tarnished historical reputation. He was something of a rogue, which
makes his story all the more interesting.
American Rodeo: From Buffalo Bill to Big Business. By Kristine Fredriks-
son. (College Station, Tex.: Texas A&M University Press, 1985.
Pp. xiii+255. Acknowledgments, introduction, illustrations, ap-
pendices, notes, bibliography, index. $18.95.)
Rodeo began as cowboy fun, when roundup hands challenged each
other in steer roping and bronc riding to break the monotony of their
work. Although several communities in the U.S. (at least two of them in
Texas) have taken credit for hosting the first organized rodeo, the author
gives that honor to Prescott, Arizona, which staged a contest in 1864.
It took a leap of imagination to take a pastoral occupation and trans-
form it into a public spectacle, and that imagination was provided by
Buffalo Bill Cody. Cody staged his first show in 1882, and by 1885 there
were more than fifty wild west shows on the road.
These early shows had more of a circus atmosphere than the tone of
organized competition, but during the first decades of the twentieth
century, rodeo began to define itself as a sport, with recognized events,


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986, periodical, 1985/1986; Austin, Texas. ( accessed March 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.