Jerry Flemmons Describes the Character of Old-Time Trail Cowboys
I wish I had written this:
"He neither built nor explored nor populated the West but moved ever so briefly across it, as capricious and lonely as the blowing dust. Dime novelists and penny dreadful authors scribbled magniloquent lies about the cowboy for rapt eastern readers but saw him only in town, often ending long cattle drives with a few desperate hours of extravagant carousel before returning to a life of social desolation. Like a cloistered monk of some distant forgotten monastery, the cowboy served his god, the rancher, and toiled at labors decidedly unglamorous. Moving often from ranch to ranch, the cowboy made few lasting friendships. He was untutored and often illiterate. For endless months he lived on the range, burned in summer, frozen in winter, as punished as the cattle he attended. He slept on the ground under "hen--skin" blankets. He arose at 4:00 a.m., or earlier, and often was not asleep again until midnight. He was fed a constant diet of beans, "Pecos strawberries," greasy stews, and Arbuckle's coffee. His aches and sprains were treated with heavy coats of axle grease or prickly pear poultices. To stay away during long nights of riding herd, he rubbed tobacco juice in his eyes. He lived in a society of men and made love to the only available women, the ubiquitous "soiled doves" and "Fallen Angels" on almost a seasonal basis..."
----- Jerry Flemmons, journalist and author, "Plowboys, Cowboys and Slanted Pigs"
Beauty is only skin deep but Texas is to the bone.