The Day the Cowboys Quit


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When big syndicates moved into the Texas Panhandle, they fenced in the open range and replaced tradition and trust with written rules of employment until the cowboys had finally had enough. In 1883, the cowboys of the Canadian River country went on strike against the big ranches. Listed as one of the Best Western Novels of all time.

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Apr 6, 2020

Cowboys Go On Strike

The Canadian River cowboy strike of 1883 really happened. Maybe not exactly like the way Elmer Kelton tells it, but close enough. In the opening pages of the book he uses Hugh Hitchcock to relate what it was like to be a cowboy in the Texas Panhandle and states, "...probably half the cowboys between the Canadian and the Pecos could not have shot themselves in the foot if they had tried. What they did in those days was work, from before they could see in the morning until they could no longer see in the evening." The reason for the strike had something to do with, of course, cattle rustling. The ranchers suspected some of the cowboys were doing it. But when a lynching takes place, on orders from a ranch owner, things really get out of hand....until a jury trial takes place....The Day the Cowboys Quit is probably one of Mr. Kelton's finest books.


Apr 24, 2007

The 5 stars isn't enough. Elmer Kelton has always been a fine author, but I feel ne outdid his best with this one.

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