Real Cowboys

0192-0605-2418-2133_tn.jpg            For many of us, the American cowboy is the ultimate fantasy hero—a strong, handsome hunk in a big hat and tight jeans—a hero who makes our hearts gallop.  But the mythic hero is based on real men who played a major role in taming the west.  And most of them were even tougher than the fantasy model.  They had to be.  Let’s take a look at them.           

The heyday of the real American cowboy lasted from the end of the Civil War to the mid-1880s.   The men who rode the cattle trails numbered about 40,000 in all.  The average age was 24.  They came from many walks of life.  Most were dirt poor.  Most—though not all—were uneducated.  Among them were mustered-out soldiers from the war, farm boys looking for adventure, outlaws on the run, black-sheep sons of European families, and even a future U.S. President—Teddy Roosevelt, who took up cowboying as an adventure.           

 The work they did—driving herds of longhorn cattle across rough country, sometimes for more than a thousand miles—was murderous.  Cattle were mean-tempered and dumber than fence posts.  They got lost and had to be found.  They got worms, mange and sickness and had to be doctored. They got mired and had to be pulled out.  They got stolen and had to be rescued.  They stampeded and had to be stopped.  And they demanded 24-7 care with no time off.  Being a cowboy was hard, filthy, dangerous work, all for a wage of about $30 a month plus meals.  This excerpt from a trail boss’s journal will give you an idea of what the life was like.  Upset our wagon in River & lost many cooking utencils…was on my Horse the whole night & it raining hard…Lost my Knife…There was one of our party Drowned today & several narrow escapes, I among them…Many men in trouble…Horses all give out & Men refused to do anything…Awful night…not having had a bite to eat for 60 hours…Flies terrible…Found a human skeleton today…”           

By the 1890s the great trail drives had ended and a new generation of cowboys had emerged, living and working on ranches, dressed in blue jeans and Stetsons.  But all of us who write about the West, owe a debt to those first tough, courageous REAL cowboys!           

 We’ll learn more about cowboys in future blogs.  Meanwhile, does anybody know some good cowboy stories?  Do you have a favorite cowboy movie?  A favorite cowboy character?           

For the research-minded, I’d like to mention my source—THE COWBOYS  from the Time-Life Books Old West Collection.  Happy Trails!

For Thursday

Cowboys!  You’ve gotta love ’em!  But who were the real cowboys of the Old West?  What were their lives really like?  Check out my Thursday blog to learn about Real Cowboys and add your own comments.  See you then!


Good Night, bloggers

horseheader1.jpeHello again!

It has been a real treat for me being the hostess for today’s blog.  I want to thank all those who left comments, and all those who visited and didn’t comment just yet.  In particular I’d like to thank Cathy Abernathy for her post, Jennifer Y and her delightful remembrances and Crystal Adkins, whose website is

It has been a complete delight getting to chat with you today.  Be sure to tune in tomorrow where we’ll be talking about all other kinds of happenings in the West.

In the meantime, Happy Trails!            


The First Americans and the Mustang

horseheader1.jpeGood Afternoon bloggers!

 I want to thank Maria Lokken and Tanya Hansen for joining in our discussion this morning, as well as fellow author, Cheryl St. John.  Also a big vote of thanks go to Linda B and Jennifer Y for their comments from yesterday’s blog, as well as Elizabeth Lane — another fellow author.

Well, here I am, getting ready to mail off the revisions for my next book (due out in March 2008), THE LAST WARRIOR.  But before I go, I thought we might discuss the mustang and its importance to Native America.

As you know, before the Spanish arrived with their horses, the Spanish Barb, Native America didn’t have horses.  Instead, the American Indians made use of the dog.  It was the dog that transported their goods from one place to another, sometimes even transporting a baby.  Is it any wonder that some tribes honor the dog to this very day?picturesforblog.jpg

As Helen Addison Howard says in her book, AMERICAN FRONTIER TALES,   “(the mustang) completely changed the Indians’ nomadic life-style in hunting and war, in moving camp, in recreation, in trade, raised the owner’s social position, became a status symbol of wealth, and engendered a new standard of well-being.”

Because of its short stature, the mustang was often called a pony.  But that stature was deceiving.  The mustang was an intelligent animal with a stamina that became legend.  It was a mustang who won the 3,000 mile endurance test held in Arabia against the finest Arab horses in the land.  That pony, Hidalgo, was the 800 pound, 8 year old that won that race, even though the race was done was over loose sand, and  in a land where there was very little water.

Did you know that the movie, Hidalgo, was based on a true story?

Well, that’s all for now.  Again, I welcome all your insights into this and any other animal that’s in your life.

Those wonderful mustangs

horseheader1.jpeGood morning once again, bloggers!

Karen Kay here again.  I want to thank Denna and Stacey Kayne for writing their comments and for sharing their stories with us this morning.  Also I’d like to thank fellow authors Charlene and Linda Broday for sharing their comments with us this morning.

Okay, so the excerise is done — it was weights for me this morning — and as I sit here eating breakfast, I thought we’d talk some more about the hearty mustangs who so captured the heart of the West.

 Of course we owe our thanks for these intelligent animals to the Spanish — the word mustang comes from the Spanish word mesteno, meaning wild.  From Columbus to Hernando Cortez, every Spanish explorer or adventurer brought these animals to the New World. 

It was Hernando Cortez who brought them to us in 1519 –he had only sixteen horses, but of them Bernal Diaz (who was with Cortez) writes: “For after God, we owed the victory to the horses.”

But where did the Spanish get these hardy friends to man?

 Professor Walker D. Wyman writes:  (the Oriental horse) is known to have come into Mesopotamia from Persia about 2500 B.C., to Egypt from there in about 1700 B.C. and thence it spread over North Africa.”

Known in Africia as the Barbs — meaning that they were from the Barbary Coast — these breeds mixed with the Arab breed when the Arabs conquered areas of Africa — this was in about 647 A.D.

It was around 711 A.D. that the Moors — who were descendants of the Moroccans and Moslem Arabs — came to Spain, and for almost 800 years, the Moors held Spain hostage.  Now, when these Moors came to Spain, what were they riding?

You guessed it — the Barb-Arab mixed breed horse.

Okay, enough of ancient history.  In my next post, let’s bring the subject closer to present time and discuss how the horse influenced Native America.

red_3-crop-email.jpg  Hope to hear your comments on this and other things of interest, so please feel free to leave some comments, okay.  To the left, by the way, is the art work for my latest novel, RED HAWK’S WOMAN, a June release of this year.

Isn’t he gorgeous?  And does anyone know the name of this sexy young man?

Till later, then.


horseheader1.jpeGood Morning Bloggers!

 Good morning and welcome to the Western Romance Author’s Blog.  I’m your host for today and the topic of discussion for today — and please do join in with me — is little known Western historical facts.

And today I thought we’d discuss the little horse that settled the West.  Of course I’m talking about the mustang.

The time period is 1863 and 28 year old Conrad Kohns — a Montana prospector — is carrying $5,000.00 worth of gold, with which he plans to buy some cattle for his butcher shop in Virginia City.  It is night, and he lets “Gray Billie,” a gray mustang whose long tail sweeps the ground, graze for the night.

Luckily Gray Billie wanders far that night and is rounded up by Fred Burr, a mixed blood herder who is hunting for wild ponies.  When Kohrs awakens, he goes in search of Gray Billie and finds him with Burr, who warns Kohrs that Dutch John and George Ives — who are notorious road agents (robbers), are looking for Kohrs.

Quickly Kohrs saddles his gray, but soon finds that sure enough Dutch John and George Ives have found him.  Riding into a stream with heavy bush around it, Kohrs unsaddles Gray Billie, throws off his blandets and throws away any heavy articles he carries.  Mounting his little stead once more, Kohrs sets out again for the mining town of Virginia City, with Dutch John and George Ives soon after him.

Upon Gray Billie’s speed depends not only Kohrs gold and his future, but his very life.

Hour upon hour Gray Billie gallops over the rolling plains of Montana, through sage and splashing through streams.

Kohrs later wrote, “In spite of the rapidity with which I traveled, each mile seemed like five.  Up and down hill I flew, clinging to my horse, fearing that each moment my pursuers were gaining on me and realizing that the breaking of the surcingle, a stumble of the horse would bring me to certain death.”

It was a long six hours later that Gray Billie finally raced to their destination.  Writes Helen Addison Howard in her book, AMERICAN FRONTIER TALES, “Although Gray Billie’s race will never be recorded in racing annals, the tough, swift pony won a race over a hazardous course of far greater importance to his master than the winning of the Kentucky Derby.”

Yep, these small, sure-footed little horses, with their long manes and their tails sweeping the ground, truly did help win the West.page2d.jpe

Do you have a story you’d like to tell about a horse or a pet?  If you do, or if you’d just like to talk about something else, join in with our discussion.

It’s still fairly early here in Los Angeles.  I’m off to exercise, but I’ll be back in about an hour to discuss this and other Western facts about this incredible friend of the Western Prairies.

Welcome to the West!


I’m Elizabeth Lane, and I’ll be posting on Thursday.  Since we’ve started with cowboys and horses, I plan to tell you more about cowboy gear and what their work was like.  The picture is the cover of my latest book, THE STRANGER.  The hero is a cowboy with a troubled past.  Looking forward to telling you more!

Crow Pow-Pow

hubby.jpeMy My hubby and I will soon be going to the Crow reservation for Crow Fair.  It will be the first time we’ve ever been to the Crow pow-wow.   We’ll be gone a week — thereabouts — but when we return, I hope to have lots to share.

Love Those Cowboys!

Hi, I’m Linda Broday and I’ll be blogging on Tuesdays. I’ll be talking about my love for cowboys, the old west, and lots ofduell.jpg interesting subjects. To start this off, I’m posting one of  my all time favorite cowboys who starred in the Desperado made-for-TV movies, Alex McArthur.    

He played Duell McCall and I’ll never forget how his chaps flapped against his pants as he strode into a fight. I based the hero in my first book, Knight on the Texas Plains, on him. Even used part of the name when I decided on Duel McClain. Anyway, we’ll talk a lot more. Drop back on Tuesdays. For now, enjoy the site that represents our hearts and souls. 

Topic for Tomorrow, August 14th


Karen Kay here, the authentic Native American Romance Author.  I’ll be hosting the Petticoats & Pistols blog all day tomorrow and would like to extend an invitation you to come and post and chat.

 Tomorrow’s topic will be little known Western Historical facts, and I’d love to have you join in a talk about this subject.  Specifically, tomorrow the plan is to talk about the little horse that made the West.  Any of you horse lovers should love this week, since Charlene will be hosting another talk on horses on Friday. 

I’ll be posting live tomorrow morning, but remember that I live in California and so my early morning may be different from yours.  Till tomorrow, then.

Karen Kay

PS:  Don’t forget to visit my website at