“My interest in ranch life is probably genetic. My mother’s people were Texas frontiersmen, ranchers, and cowboys back to 1858. I had a great-great-grandmother who was killed by Comanche Indians in 1860 . . . My great-grandfather . . . was shot and killed by his neighbor in a dispute over a waterhole. One of his sons . . . stayed a bachelor and spent his life working as a cowboy on ranches near Lubbock, while another son . . . lived out his days raising cattle in Gaines County. My mother’s father . . . managed a 64,000 acre ranch and eventually put together an 8,500 acre ranch of his own . . . My mother was a wonderful storyteller, and I was raised on her tales of [these men]. At a young age I wanted to be a rancher and a cowboy, and those proved to be such a powerful fantasy that even six years of university education didn’t erase it . . . So, yes, this passion I have for ranch life and cowboying is probably genetic.”—John Erickson, from the Preface
Erickson’s articles and essays have been published in Texas Highways, Livestock Weekly, The Dallas Morning News, The Dallas Times Herald, and American Cowboy. They are arranged by Place; From Buffalo to Cattle; The Cowboy; Cowboy Tools; Ranch and Rodeo; Animals; This and That. Many of the pieces are anecdotal, based on Erickson’s experiences and observations on ranches. Others required some research and are more historical. Some are essays in which Erickson views contemporary life through the lens of cowboying. But all of them are vintage master storyteller John Erickson, told with humor and thoughtfulness.