Guide Frontier Cowboys and the Great Divide: Early Ranching in BC and Alberta

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This is a significant collection of photographs of those who look after cattle in the Americas, especially the little-documented cattle cultures of South America. Following this, I expected the book to focus on the lives of these men who spend their lives on the cattle ranges of the Americas. Such a description does little justice to the full-time cowboys of B.

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True to his background in anthropology, Davis goes on to describe the evolution of the horse and mankind. While interesting and well written, this is only partly relevant to the photographic content of the book. It takes eleven more pages for the horse to arrive in the Americas and seven more before the lowing cloven-hoofed herds are introduced to the three-way connection of men, horses, and cattle.

In the process, some contentious statements are made without explanation or footnotes.

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But no sources are cited for these debated and controversial statements. The Spanish vaqueros brought this culture to the New World, modified and adapted the tools of the trade to their specific needs and climate, and then extended the culture throughout North and South America.

In the United States alone, there were two distinct cattle cultures, one originating in Texas and the other in California, both of which spread northward.

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Once this lengthy and only partly relevant opening is completed, Fabini and Davis settle down to portray the different ranching cultures of South and Central America. These depict the settings, the men, and the animals with sensitivity.


  • Frontier Cowboys and the Great Divide: Early Ranching in BC and Alberta.
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The chapters devoted to the United States and Canada are less compelling, probably because most North American readers have been exposed to many images of the working cowboy. Ken Mather. Book Format: eBook.

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