Thursday, December 17, 2009

Books of the West - 5

This edition I hold in my grubby little hands of Dakota Cowboy, My Life in the Old Days, by Ike Blasingame, is a paperback published in 1971, Fourth Bison Book Printing, and cost $1.95. I don't remember how much I paid for it, but I'm sure it was more than that. This one was reprinted with permission from G. P. Putnam and Sons 1958 edition by arrangement with Mrs. Ike Blasingame it says on the copyright page and is illustrated by John Mariani.

Mr. Blasingame starts off the book on a trail drive with the Matador Land and Cattle Co in 1904, leaving from Texas and heading to Evarts, South Dakota. From there he relates his life and happenings as a cowboy working for the Matador. As Mari Sandoz says on the back cover, "....Ike was certainly a salty representative of the Texs bronc twister when he came north with the most romantic of cow outfits, the British-owned Matador......There is the authentic smell and feel of the Northern cow the story Blasingame tells."

And Lewis Nordyke, New York Times, says "....and he tells the story straight in the language of the cow country without contrivance."

D. M. Johnson, New York Herald Tribune, adds ".......He paints a big picture without omitting details."

From these cover statements you get the idea that the book will be interesting and exciting as Ike Blasingame tells it like it was at the turn of the twentieth century. And I enjoyed reading his description of the job of a rep at the roundups, as well as the trail drives and Indians, marriage, etc, working for this big outfit.

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