Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Quarter Circle U Ranch roundup

In the old days of the American West, ranchers rounded up their cattle from the open range and drove them over vast distances to railroads, where they were shipped to markets and sold. A handful of cowboys could herd thousands of head of cattle, spending months on the range at a time. These massive undertakings helped cement the image of the cowboy as a symbol of rustic, stoic strength. But as railroad networks expanded and eventually gave rise to motor transport, cattle drives became shorter and simpler expeditions. Roundups could still require camping out for several days, but were mainly used to herd cattle from one pasture inside a ranch to another. They also presented opportunities for branding, castration, inoculation and otherwise managing the health of the herd. Many ranches also took advantage of the romanticization of cowboy life and allowed paying guests, or dudes, to come along and get their hands dirty. Here, Farm Security Administration photographer Arthur Rothstein follows cowboys and dudes from the Quarter Circle U Ranch in Big Horn County, Montana as they gather their herds for the seasonal roundup.  LINK

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