Cover image for Legends of our times : native cowboy life
Legends of our times : native cowboy life
Baillargeon, Morgan.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Vancouver : UBC Press ; Seattle : University of Washington Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
x, 254 pages : illustrations (some color), maps (some color) ; 29 cm
General Note:
"Published in association with Canadian Museum of Civilization."
Reading Level:
1230 Lexile.
Added Corporate Author:


Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E78.P7 B35 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize
E78.P7 B35 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



Throughout the world, the cowboy is an instantly recognized symbol of the North American West. Legends of Our Times breaks the stereotype of 'cowboys and Indians' to show an almost unknown side of the West. It tells the story of some of the first cowboys - Native peoples of the northern Plains and Plateau.

Through stories, poetry, art, and reminiscences in this lavishly illustrated work, Native people invite the reader on a fascinating journey into the world of ranching and rodeo. The book also presents the special relationship between Native people and animals such as the horse, buffalo, deer, and dog, which have always played an important role in Native spiritual and economic life.

By the mid-nineteenth century, Native people were highly valued for their skills in horse breeding and herding, and could take advantage of new economic opportunities in the emerging ranching industry. Faced with limited resources, competition for land, and control by governments and Indian agents, many Native people still managed to develop their own herds or to find work as cowboys.

As the ways of the Old West changed, new forms of entertainment and sport evolved. Impresarios such as Buffalo Bill Cody invented the Wild West show, employing Native actors and stunt performers to dramatize scenes from the history of the West and to demonstrate the friendly competitions that cowboys enjoyed at the end of a long round-up or cattle drive. The popularity of rodeos also grew within Native communities, and arenas were built on many reserves. Native rodeos are still held, while many Native competitors ride in professional rodeos as well.

Today, Plains and Plateau peoples proudly continue a long tradition of cowboying. Legends of Our Times is a celebration of their rich contribution to ranching and rodeo life.

Author Notes

Morgan Baillargeon is a Metis from southwestern Ontario and Curator of Plains Ethnology at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
Leslie Tepper is Curator of Plateau Ethnology at the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the author of several publications, among them Earth Line and Morning Star, a study of clothing from the Plateau.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

One normally thinks of cowboys' pursuits and Indians' concerns as mutually exclusive, but this book will prove that idea wrong. Native people of the northern plains and plateau were involved in the earliest days of ranching and rodeo. They managed to live in harmony with their native heritage while adapting to a cowboy way of life. Their advanced skills at riding, herding, and horse breeding were highly valued as the ranch industry began to emerge. They even managed to develop their own herds, despite very limited resources, the shrinking available land, and government controls. This large-format book, with many full-color photographs, is based on research for the Canadian Museum of Civilization's exhibition Legends of Our Times. A map illustrates the area covered, pointing out the tribe and reservation locations in both Canada and the U.S. A recommended addition for Native American and western collections, covering an almost unknown segment of the West. --Fred Egloff

Table of Contents

Eleanor BrassGarry GottfriedsonGregory ScofieldMari SandozHerb ManuelOld Lady Horse (Spear Woman)James A. TeitJames A. TeitJames A. TeitDavid PrattClark Wissler and D.C. DuvalTim Ryan RouillierBob BoyerAlex Harvey and Tim Ryan RouillierLeonard Lethbridge and Harold Thomson and Thelma PoirierClara Spotted ElkJames A. TeitLeslie TepperChauncey Yellow RobeDavid PrattBuffy Sainte-MarieGarry GottfriedsonPhil Baird
Prefacep. viii
Native Cowboy Lifep. 2
Part I Sacred Beingsp. 18
The First Horsesp. 51
Painted Ponyp. 55
Ayahkwew's Lodgep. 59
Buffalo Woman Leads the Buffalo out of the Earthp. 61
Coyote and Buffalop. 63
The End of the World: The Buffalo Gop. 69
The Deerp. 71
Coyote and Wood Tickp. 73
Coyotep. 74
Man's Best Friendp. 75
The Dog Chiefp. 77
Part II Ranching Lifep. 82
Lonely Cowboyp. 115
Allen Sappp. 116
Tried, True, and Testedp. 122
At Wood Mountain We Are Still Lakotap. 125
Women and the Ranching Lifep. 135
Part III Rodeo and Other Entertainmentp. 152
The Gambler's Son and Star Manp. 205
Bronco Busters, Basket Makers, and a Brass Bandp. 207
The Menace of the Wild West Showp. 211
Remembering Heroesp. 213
He's an Indian Cowboy in the Rodeop. 217
On the champ of '63p. 219
Indian Rodeo Cowboys of the Dakotasp. 221
Down the Road ...p. 243
Referencesp. 244
Creditsp. 246
Indexp. 249