Watching the westerns from silver screen to television series like “Rawhide” with Gil Favor and Rowdy Yates leading a herd of cattle to market there’s always a silent character, but it was as much a part of a ‘drive’ as the point, swing and drag riders, the American version of the Mexican vaqueros ‘cowboys’ (from Spanish vaca = cow) with their lariats (from the Span. la riata) wearing chaps (from the Span. chaparejos = open-backed leather leggings made to protect the vaqueros’ legs while riding through brushy country or chaparral).
Somewhere, I learned that Eskimos have 24 different words for snow, each one reflecting some slight but key difference that is probably imperceptible to everyone except for those who inhabit the land where the white frozen stuff falls by feet at a time.
Lonesome Dove, (1985) Larry McMurtry’s seminal novel of the West, about two fictional characters Augustus “Gus” McRae and Woodrow F. Call, ex-Texas Rangers who trail a herd from the Rio Grande (& their “Hat Creek Outfit”) to Montana starring Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones respectively, is based loosely on the genuine life adventures of men who trailed their Texas cattle right through here.
I’ve never been skilled at goodbyes or keeping things short (just ask any of my former patients or coworkers), so bear with me as I attempt to do both.
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