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The Day the Cowboys Quit

Essay by   •  May 6, 2018  •  Book/Movie Report  •  981 Words (4 Pages)  •  647 Views

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The Day the Cowboys Quit is a classic old western that details the lives of cowboys in the Texas Panhandle in 1883. The book was written by an American journalist and author of more than forty different westerns, Elmer Kelton. Kelton was born on April 29, 1926, in Andrews County, Texas. After graduating from Crane High School he attended the University of Texas at Austin in 1942 through 1944. At that point, Kelton served two years during WWII in the U.S. Army before returning to UT at Austin in 1946. In 1948, Kelton graduated from UT with a B.A. degree in journalism. After graduating, Kelton spent 15 years as farm and ranch writer and editor for the San Angelo Standard-Times, five years as editor of Sheep and Goat Raiser Magazine and 22 years as associate editor of Livestock Weekly. Kelton retired in 1990. In 1995, Kelton was voted the “greatest western writer of all time” by the Western Writers of America. Kelton has won awards such as The Western Heritage award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, and the Spur Award from Western Writers of America with some of his books such as The Time it Never Rained, The Man Who Rode Midnight, Buffalo Wagons, and The Day the Cowboys Quit. Elmer Kelton passed away in 2009 on August 22 in San Angelo, Texas.

The Day the Cowboys Quit takes the reader back to the days of 1883 in the Texas Panhandle. Although the author touches on several themes throughout the story, he focuses mainly on the changing dynamic of western culture and way of life during this time period. The book’s foremost idea is that this newfound change ushers in opportunities that will either be beneficial or destructive. As Hitchcock and the other cowboys quickly find out, an individual's choices play an important role in how their lives will turn out.

The Day the Cowboys Quit is about a situation in 1883 when the cowboys who once controlled the American West came into conflict with the larger, more wealthy ranchers that were also trying to obtain more power. This story focuses primarily on one group of cowboys. Their story represents the change that the Cowboys were faced with because of the changing dynamic of the American West. Most cowboys own some cattle that run with the herd and play a huge role in the control of cattle farming industry inside the American West. The problem, as Hitch and his fellow cowboys will find out, is that men like Prosper Selkirk are not comfortable the cowboys owning cattle in the herd they’re running because of the temptation to steal cattle from the ranchers. Because of this, the cattle ranchers try to prohibit the cowboys from having any cattle at all. This causes the cowboys to come together and rise up in a sort of makeshift union and strike against the rich ranchers who are trying to shut them down and strip them of their cattle. The story focuses on decisions made by the cowboys and the main character, Hugh Hitchcock. Hitch is a perfect example of



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