The Westerners: A Roundup of Pioneer Reminiscences

The Westerners: A Roundup of Pioneer Reminiscences

The Westerners: A Roundup of Pioneer Reminiscences

The Westerners: A Roundup of Pioneer Reminiscences

Synopsis

Two dozen pioneering men and women talk about life out West on the downward slope of the nineteenth century and start of the twentieth. It was still rough and raw. Paul Gray rode the cattle trails of the Staked Plain, where "nobody asked anybody's name" because "it wasn't courtesy". Jake Goss recalls the fuss when chickens raised on Salt Creek in western Colorado were found to have gold in their craws. J. Selby Batt's father owned a general store in Wells, Nevada, where a lady could buy yards of ribbon and a gallon of whiskey. Other old-timers reminisce about characters like Bat Masterson and the Tabors, range wars, unpopular government representatives, wild longhorns and marauding wolves, boom towns turned ghostly, and unsolved mysteries. Here, too, are the voices of miners, schoolteachers, dentists, businessmen, traveling salesmen, journalists, and writers from frontier Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Oklahoma, and beyond. In an arena like this, "You could do anything you was big enough to do".

Excerpt

The body of this volume is made up of tape-recorded reports on the West by people old enough to have been active there during the closing decades of the nineteenth century and the opening ones of the twentieth. Ranging in age from the mid-seventies to the early nineties, they were asked to look back at the final phase of America's pioneer era and enlarge history by telling what it was like to live at that time.

The two dozen spokesmen included here may seem few for a generation hailing from some of the largest of the United States. Yet they stand for a respectable percentage of those yet competent to give vivid descriptions of the period of their youth. For these frontier holdovers represent the elite of a never extensive field.

"So many people today don't know how few of us there were," as one contributor said of turn-of-the-century pioneers. the young people of that day were never numerous, and they were born at a time when life expectancy was considerably shorter than is true of today.

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