Welcome to
The Cowboy Story

In the decades after the Civil War, the United States experienced a period of massive immigration. The populations in cities from Chicago to the Atlantic, and settlements all across the plains, created a unique opportunity. All those people needed to be fed, and there were millions of wild Longhorn cattle roaming through Texas. Young men fresh from battle, trained in firearms, independent, and seeking adventure, crossed the Mississippi and left the war behind them. They rounded up the cattle and drove them halfway across a continent to Kansas. Then they drove other breeds even farther, reaching new railheads in Omaha, Cheyenne and other points on the Transcontinental. Over the next three decades their grit created a new American hero - one who faced rattlesnakes, blizzards, bullets and loneliness with courage and fortitude. For more than a hundred years they have been an icon, a personification of everything we admire about this
vast and wonderful country. Like Brokaw's greatest generation, they did what needed to be done.
This is their story...

The cowboy above, photographed by John Grabill near Sturgis, South Dakota in the 1880s, could just as easily have been photographed this morning. Virtually nothing has changed - or has needed changing - in over 100 years. Below, cowboys take a noontime break near the Belle Fourche river.
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