The cowboy, as possibly no different determine, has captured the creativeness of North American citizens for over a century. Sooner than Owen Wister’s newsletter of The Virginian in 1902, the picture of the cowboy was once necessarily that of the dime novel – a coarse, violent, one-dimensional drifter, or the degree cowboy selection present in Buffalo Invoice Cody’s Wild West display. Wister’s novel was once to grow to be, nearly in a single day, this symbol of the cowboy. Quickly after its newsletter, Wister despatched a replica, inscribed “To the hero from the writer,” to Everett Johnson, a cowboy from Virginia who were a loved one of Wister’s in Wyoming within the Eighteen Eighties. Johnson had migrated to Alberta by means of the Eighteen Nineties, in the end settling within the Calgary space. Sooner than his demise in 1946, his daughter-in-regulation, Jean Johnson, transcribed Everett’s tales of the antique west and picked up them right into a manuscript, now on deposit within the Glenbow Documents.

In The Cowboy Legend, John Jennings, construction on Jean Johnson’s paintings, main points the proof that Everett Johnson was once the preliminary and high idea for Wister’s cowboy, and within the procedure displays that Johnson led a captivating existence in his personal proper. His reminiscences of each the Wyoming and Alberta farm animals frontiers supply perception into ranch existence on all sides of the border, and the compelling parallel biographies of Johnson and Wister characteristic vignettes of mythical duration figures corresponding to Buffalo Invoice Cody, Wild Invoice Hickok, Wyatt Earp, and Butch Cassidy, to not point out the most efficient guy at Johnson’s marriage ceremony, Henry Longabaugh, a.okay.a. the Sundance Child.

With an excellent vary of scholarship and archival analysis, Jennings melds this practical look at of the cowboy frontier with an interesting account of Wister’s next introduction of the cowboy mystique, aided by means of shut buddies and possibly rather sudden collaborators, Frederic Remington and Theodore Roosevelt. As compulsively readable as it’s informative, this distinctive contribution to western historical past and literature can be welcomed by means of fanatics and students alike.v