Western Life Series

Vol. 8: Confessions of a Horseshoer

Published: May, 2012  Pages: 272  Features: 23 b&w photos.

Confessions of a Horseshoer offers a close and personal look at the mind-set of a professional horseshoer (farrier) who also happens to be a college professor. The book, an ironic and playful view of the many unusual animals (and people) Ron Tatum has encountered over thirty-seven years, is nicely balanced between straightforward presentation, self-effacing humor, and lightly seasoned wisdom. It captures the day-to-day life of a somewhat cantankerous old guy, who has attitude and strong opinions. more... about Confessions of a Horseshoer

Vol. 7: The Modern Cowboy, Second Edition

Published: June, 2004  Pages: 272  Features: 58 b&w illus. Bib. Index.

“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? more... about The Modern Cowboy, Second Edition

Vol. 6: Friends: Cowboys, Cattle, Horses, Dogs, Cats, and 'Coons

Published: March, 2002  Pages: 176  Features: 14 b/w photos. Index.

From the creator of Hank the Cowdog more... about Friends: Cowboys, Cattle, Horses, Dogs, Cats, and 'Coons

Vol. 5: Some Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys: A Collection of Articles and Essays

Published: August, 2000  Pages: 200  Features: Index.

“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 more... about Some Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys: A Collection of Articles and Essays

Vol. 4: Panhandle Cowboy

Published: February, 1999  Pages: 232  Features: 28 b&w photos. Index.

“Panhandle Cowboy is a sensitive, admirably straightforward book about the texture of modern cowboying in the Oklahoma Panhandle. These truthful and affectionate descriptions of life and work in that severe locale serve to reinforce an old point: that hardship and risk are woven deeply into the appeal of cowboying. Often as not the elements themselves provide all the hardship that anyone could well want. Should the weather happen to be comfortable, animals or the cattle market will contribute the hardship. In this one regard cowboys resemble desert Arabs: their best qualities are forged by extreme conditions. Enrich or suburbanize a Bedouin or a cowboy and taste, vigor, and sense of craft are soon lost. Keep them out where the winds blow, the sands storm, and the animals resist all reasonable effort and they remain superb workmen, alert, humorous, and subtle.” —Larry McMurtry, from the Foreword more... about Panhandle Cowboy

Vol. 3: LZ Cowboy: A Cowboy's Journal 1979-1981

Published: April, 1997  Pages: 192  Features: 35 b&w photos. Index.

“The journal offers stirring insights into the strength and commitment required to raise and market cattle successfully… This book is rich in its description of a way of work and life that few people, even Texans, are aware of.” —Clay Reynold, Dallas Morning News more... about LZ Cowboy: A Cowboy's Journal 1979-1981

Vol. 2: Through Time and the Valley

Published: April, 2013  Pages: 256  Features: 31 b&w photos. Map. Bib. Index.

The isolated Canadian River in the Texas Panhandle stretched before John Erickson and Bill Ellzey as they began a journey through time and what the locals call “the valley.” They went on horseback, as they might have traveled it a century before. Everywhere they went they talked, worked, and swapped stories with the people of the valley, piecing together a picture of what life has been like there for a hundred years. Through Time and the Valley is their story of the river—its history, its lore, its colorful characters, the comedies and tragedies that valley people have spun yarns about for generations. Outlaws, frontier wives, Indian warriors, cowboys, craftsmen, dance-hall girls, moonshiners, inventors, ranchers—all are part of the Canadian River country heritage that gives this book its vitality. more... about Through Time and the Valley

Vol. 1: Catch Rope: The Long Arm of the Cowboy

Published: March, 1994  Pages: 186  Features: 28 b&w photos. 9 line drawings. bib. Index.

For more than a hundred years, American cowboys have made their living through the skilled use of horse and rope. Whole libraries have been devoted to the horse, but no one, until now, has written a thorough study of the origins and evolution of ranch roping—which differs from arena roping as practiced by rodeo cowboys. more... about Catch Rope: The Long Arm of the Cowboy