Big Dry

If I remember right, it was the summer of 1909. There was a big horse sale in Billings, Montana. There was a lot of good heavy horses brought in from the western part of the state. The Madison and Jefferson River country used to raise some awfully good horses.

I was at the sale. A rancher that lived close to Wyola

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Every saloon was full…

It was the Fourth of July, and the spring roundup in the Powder River country was just over. Most of the cowboys came to Douglas, Wyoming, to celebrate as that was the closest town from where the roundup was finished.

There was a big sheep shearing plant at Douglas, and they had not finished shearing. It was a 25-man plant, and

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Ten bucks a head…

There was a three-day horse sale advertised at the Northern Pacific Stock Yards in Billings, Montana. It must have been in 1906 or 1907. Anyway, it was after the Boer War when the English government bought so many horses in the Western states. At that time, I had a ranch south of Billings on Blue Creek.

George Williams, a well-known rider,

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Moving a bunch of Texas steers

I was working in Utah. It was around 1895 or 1896. There was a bunch of cattle that had been trailed into that country from west Texas. It was an unusual thing for Southern cattle to be trailed in that far West.

Most of the cattle brought in from Texas was yearlings or two-year-olds. The younger stuff made a lot of

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Horse Roundup

I remember well a big horse roundup that took place about 1902. It was held up Pryor Creek just a little ways north of Pryor Gap about 40 miles south of Billings, Montana, on the Crow Reservation. The reservation wasn’t fenced at that time. There was thousands of horses in Montana in those days, and the Crow Reservation had more

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Bill’s Warbag 7-13-17

When I see a big truck loaded with cattle going to market, it reminds me of the 150- to 250-mile drives we used to have to make to get cattle to the railroad. In Wyoming some 58 years ago (Editor’s note: this column was printed in November of 1954), the Union Pacific had a branch line in Wyoming from Cheyenne

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Rustling problems…

Rustling problems…

In the early days throughout all the Western states, there was lots of thieving of livestock, and Montana and Wyoming had more than their share. The country had lots of cattle and horses and was thinly settled with just a few sheriffs hundreds of miles apart to try to enforce the law. It wasn’t too hard to gather up

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Horse Thief Smithie makes a ride

During the Boer War (11 October 1899 to 31 May 1902 ), the English government bought hundreds of horses in the Western states. Billings, Montana, was one of the receiving places where they rode them out for inspection. The horses had to be dark solid colors, 13-15 hands high, 5-8 years old, with good eyes, wind, and lines, and no

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Bucking horses…

Bucking horses…There are many different kinds of bucking horses. The young horse that has never been handled ain\’t near as hard to ride as an old outlaw that has throwed off a lot of riders. The green horse will do everything he can to slip his pack but hasn\’t had the experience of an older horse. The real bucking horse

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Real tough times…

Real tough times…

In the winter in the early days throughout this western country, the stockmen used to have real tough times. This as especially true when they ranged their stock on grass the year round. There was lots of cowboys and sheepherders that froze to death or froze their hands or their feet so bad they had to have them

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Wild West Show, Part 2

Wild West Show, Part 2

 

(Continued from last week) 

 

When I went to the bank to collect my half dollar for riding the mule, Mr. Killingsworth was ready to talk loans. He asked me where I had lived in Montana and if I had done banking there. I gave him the address of the state bank where I had done a lot

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Wild West Show, Part 1

Wild West Show, Part 1

In 1913, I had my Wild West Show with Campbell’s United Shows, which was a big carnival. It only showed in the large towns and made a week stand at each place it stopped.

In the late fall we was in Louisiana. It was the rainy season, and for three weeks we hadn’t done any good. All

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The albino just liked to rag…

The albino just liked to rag…Charley and Jim Taylor had come from England and settled on Bear River just over the state line from Utah in Idaho. They seemed to have plenty of money, and every three months, they got a bunch of money from England. Whenever the money came, they generally put on a big party at Montpelier that

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Ice Harvest

Ice Harvest…

In the old days, as soon as it got cold enough for the river to freeze over, everyone got ready for the ice harvest on the Yellowstone River that run through Billings, Montana. It was a very disagreeable job but about the only work there was in the winter. It didn\’t take much equipment. A team of horses,

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