“The American cowboy is a mythical character who refuses to die,” says author John R. Erickson. On the one hand he is a common man: a laborer, a hired hand who works for wages. Yet in his lonely struggle against nature and animal cunning, he becomes larger than life. Who is this cowboy? Where did he come from and where is he today?
Erickson addresses these questions based on firsthand observation and experience in Texas and Oklahoma. And in the process of describing and defining the modern working cowboy—his work, his tools and equipment, his horse, his roping technique, his style of dress, his relationships with his wife and his employer—Erickson gives a thorough description of modern ranching, the economic milieu in which the cowboy operates.
The first edition of this book was published in 1981. For this second edition Erickson has thoroughly revised and expanded the book to discuss recent developments in cowboy culture, making The Modern Cowboy the most up-to-date source on cowboy and ranch life today.
“We meet the modern cowboy (his dress depends on weather, chores, and vanity) and follow him through the year: spring roundup, branding and ‘working’ the calves; spotting problem animals and cutting them from the herd; repairing windmills and mending fences; fall roundup, and feeding animals in winter . . . This is a lively portrait, sure to appeal to all Western buffs.”—Publishers Weekly
“For a straightforward, highly readable account of today’s cowboy, you can’t do better . . . Informative, engaging, and clearly the real thing.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Erickson has caught the ambience of the working cowboy, what he loves to do, and what he must do to keep a ranch operating day-to-day and season-to-season. In doing this, he actually provides an account of how much cowboying has changed in the hundred or so years of its existence.”—Western American Literature