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Cattle, Cowboys And Change In The Old West

This article is more than 6 years old.

With guest host Sacha Pfeiffer.

Cattle drives, range wars and the hidden history of the American west during the 19th century.

Theodore Roosevelt on the roundup. (Photo Courtesy Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Theodore Roosevelt on the roundup. (Photo Courtesy Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Hollywood loves to romanticize cowboys: brave, rugged, living an enviable life under the open skies. But true cowboy life was brutal: monotonous work, a high risk of injury, terrible weather and terribly lonely. A new book pierces the cowboy myth and tells the boom-bust story of cattle ranchers, slaughterhouses and the popularization of American steak. This hour On Point: cowboy history and the tough job home on the range. -- Sacha Pfeiffer


Christopher Knowlton, author of "Cattle Kingdom: The Hidden History of the Cowboy West."
Kent Hanawalt, Montana cattle rancher.

From The Reading List

American Cowboy: The Top 5 Cattle Drive Movies — "Looking to watch cowboy movies featuring cattle drives? From authentic Westerns to cowboy comedies, American Cowboy ranks the five greatest cattle drive movies."
Montana Cowboy College: The Economics of Ranching — "Ranching is easy – right? All you have to do is watch the cows eat grass and make you money. Wrong! Many people dream of doing it, and if it was that easy everyone would be doing it. So let’s take a look at the economics of raising cattle and see why all ranchers aren’t driving Cadillacs.

Read An Excerpt From "Cattle Kingdom"

This program aired on May 30, 2017.


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