Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country as "Deadwood Dick," by Himself

Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country as "Deadwood Dick," by Himself

Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country as "Deadwood Dick," by Himself

Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country as "Deadwood Dick," by Himself


Nat Love's memoir Life and Adventures of Nat Love is one of the only firsthand accounts of an African American cowhand in the western United States from this period. Love and his parents were owned by planter Robert Love, and after Emancipation, his parents remained on Love's plantation as sharecroppers while Nat left and headed west. He found work as a cowboy, first on the Duval Ranch in the Texas panhandle, then on the Gallinger Ranch in southern Arizona. Love's narrative details his many adventures and exploits, such as being captured and shot by Pima Indians, who eventually spared his life because they sympathized with his plight as a black man. In Deadwood, Dakota Territory, he entered a rodeo, winning $200 and the nickname Deadwood Dick, a reference to a literary character from a dime novel of the day. Published in 1907, the Life and Adventures of Nat Love would help to make Love a black folk hero of the Old West.

A DOCSOUTH BOOK. This collaboration between UNC Press and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library brings classic works back into print. DocSouth Books editions are selected from the digital library of Documenting the American South and are unaltered from the original publication. The DocSouth series uses digital technology to offer e-books and print-on-demand publications, providing affordable and accessible editions to a new generation of scholars, students, and general readers.


Having passed the half century mark in life’s journey, and yielding to persistent requests of many old and valued friends of the past and present, I have decided to write the record of slave, cow-boy and pullman porter will prove of interest to the reading public generally and particularly to those who prefer facts to fiction, (and in this case again facts will prove stranger than fiction). I assure my readers that every event chronicled in this history is based on facts, and my personal experiences, of more than fifty years of an unusually adventurous life.

While many things contained in this record happened many years ago, they are as fresh in my memory as if they happened but yesterday. I have tried to record events simply as they are, without attempting to varnish over the bad spots or draw on my imagination to fill out a chapter at the cost of the truth. It has been my aim to record things just as they happened, believing they will prove of greater interest thereby; and if I am able to add to the interest and enjoyment of a single reader I will consider myself well repaid for the time and labor of preparing this history.

To my playmates of my boyhood, who may chance to read this I send greetings and wish them well. To the few friends, who assisted myself and widowed mother in our early struggles, I tender my sincerest thanks, and hope they have prospered as they deserve. For those who proved our enemies, I have no word of censure. They have reaped their reward.

To that noble but ever decreasing band of men under whose blue and buckskin shirts there lives a soul as great and beats a heart as true as ever human breast contained—to the cow-boys, rangers, scouts, hunters and trappers and cattle-men of the “GREAT western plains,” I extend the hand of greeting acknowledging the FATHER-HOOD of god and the brotherhood of men; and to my mother’s Sainted name, this book is reverently dedicated.

The author.

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