IN 1915, GEORGE W. SAUNDERS, a self-described “old-time” cowboy, organized and founded the now legendary Old Time Trail Drivers’ Association in San Antonio, Texas. Worried that other old-timers would soon die, taking their colorful accounts of theMoreIN 1915, GEORGE W. SAUNDERS, a self-described “old-time” cowboy, organized and founded the now legendary Old Time Trail Drivers’ Association in San Antonio, Texas. Worried that other old-timers would soon die, taking their colorful accounts of the Wild West with them to their graves, Saunders urged his group to gather the accounts of aging Texans who as young men and women “went up the trail with cattle or horses between 1865 and 1896.” The result was the 1923 masterpiece, The Trail Drivers of Texas, from which The Gruene Cowboy is excerpted.Wrote Saunders: “It is our purpose to write a history dealing strictly with trail and ranch life and the early cattle industry.
This book will consist of letters written by trail drivers only, giving the minutest details of their experiences of bygone days at home and on the trail, and will contain facts and be full of thrills. Such a book has never been written- all the books published on this subject have been by some author who spent a few months on some ranch, then attempted to write a book, understanding very little about stock or the stock business, and consequently having them pulling off stunts that have never been pulled off anywhere else but in the fertile imagination of some fiction writer.”This new edition, dubbed The Gruene Cowboy -- in honor of trail rider H.D.
Gruene, whose family founded the now famed Central Texas tourist town and music mecca of Gruene -- contains many of the Saunders’ tales but has been edited to include only the most-colorful stories and, and reworked archaic spellings and old-school styles to make it easier for modern readers.Along the trail, novices like Gruene encountered hostile Indians, cattle stampedes, gunfights, Billy the Kid, outlaws, hazardous river crossings, Quanah Parker, bars and street fights in Dodge City, herds of buffalo, extreme weather and unexpected early death in many forms.Saddle up with the men and women who blazed the cattle trails north to Dodge City, and beyond!REVIEWS“Absolutely the best source there is on the cattle trail.”-Walter Prescott Webb, historian, author and president of the Texas State Historical Association“The most monumental single source on the old-time Texas trail drives north to Kansas and beyond.”-Elmer Kelton, Dallas Morning News“...
the essential starting point for any study of Texas trail-driving days.”-Basic Texas Books