by Cowboy and Author Kent Hanawalt
Now available in formats for most E-books at SmashWords.com
"Ain't this romantic?" hollered Steve
from his position on the opposite flank of the handful of
cattle we were struggling to push into the biting wind.
"The best part is that there are no
mosquitoes," I replied, pulling my neck-scarf up to cover my
Steve Gordon and I were gathering a small
group of two-year-old heifers with new calves which had been
caught in an open field by a late winter storm. The heifers
were new to this business of motherhood and alternately ran
away from the group in a tizzy, then returned bawling for
their new babies. The calves couldn't decide whether to
follow the group, their mothers, the horses, or to just lay
down where they were and hide.
Our objective was to push the group into
the shelter of the brush along lower Richardson Creek, but
our erratic progress was further hampered by a north wind
which was blowing snow into our faces at a temperature of 5 degrees
The time was February 1996, and the place
was the Gordon Ranch on the slopes of the Big Belt Mountains
southeast of Cascade, Montana. Steve is the third generation
of Gordons to occupy this beautiful piece of ground, and he
plans for his son, Daine, to be the fourth. I was raised on
TV westerns - Bonanza, Lone Ranger, Rawhide - and have spent
thirty years in Montana, making my living ahorseback.
Popular movies of the late 1980s, such as "Urban Cowboy" and
"Lonesome Dove", sparked a resurgence of interest in the
cowboy way of life, and commercial "trail drives" became
popular recreational events. Steve and I were "real" cowboys, making our living day in and day out from the
cattle for which we were responsible. We both understood
that modern ranch life had become largely mechanized, and
that a cowboy now spent more time jockeying equipment than
But for each of us, horses continue to be
vital to our lifestyle and self-image. We know both the joys
and sorrows of the ranching business, and our love is
unshaken. We tolerate the months of routine and boring
chores, and live for the moments of drama and excitement.
In these pages I share some of the events
that have made cowboy life worthwhile for me. I hope you
enjoy reading them as much as I have enjoyed living them.
Click the titles below for excerpts.