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Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail

Dec 08, Mike rated it it was amazing. It is good to stretch your reading mind with a bit of more colloquial phraseology. His description of the people who live between the Rockies and the Missouri River is spot on, even today. I was surprised to learn that Theodore Roosevelt was such a marvelous writer of descriptive prose.

He has you right there. The scenery, mountains, canyons, bluffs, plains, wildlife, people, are so very well placed on the printed page!

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I enjoyed the whole book. My favorite parts were his stories about the Indians and also the habits of prong horned antelopes.


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Jul 23, David West rated it it was amazing Shelves: I love this book. This was the perfect book to start reading while on my first visit to South Dakota and Wyoming. What a treat to have a first hand account, from a man whose face is now on Mount Rushmore, of ranching and hunting in the Dakotas. There was a time when the wild west was just that - the wild, wild west. And Roosevelt was there to give us a first hand account. He's a decent writer and chronicles a piece of American history while living it. From stampedes to catching thieves to huntin I love this book.

From stampedes to catching thieves to hunting big horn sheep, this book shows the life of a cowboy in the 's. Aug 19, Kay rated it really liked it Recommends it for: This edition has terrific illustrations by Frederick Remington, a TR contemporary. From this book I got a much clearer sense of a formative part of Roosevelt's life as well as a better understanding of what the West was like some one hundred and twenty years ago, a time when it was still arguably the "Wild West. They are smaller and less muscular than the wielders of ax and pick; but they are as hardy and self-reliant as any men who ever breathed -- with bronzed, set faces, and keen eyes that look all the world straight in the face without flinching as they flash out from under broad-brimmed hats.

Peril and hardship, and years of long toil broken by weeks of brutal dissipation, draw haggard lines across their eager faces, but never dim their reckless eyes nor break their bearing of defiant self-confidence. His own adventures and exploits are related in an endearingly modest way, and he seems almost eager to relate how he falls short of the mark in his four years spent as a rancher. There are glimpses of TR's understated trademark humor as well, such as when describing the local fauna: At every ranch house dozens were killed, we ourselves bagging thirty-three, all slain near the house, and one, to our unspeakable sorrow, in it.

TR's passionate love of the hunt. Now, I have nothing against hunters and for my part only could wish there were more local hunters thinning the local over-abundant deer. Still, it's hard to read accounts of stalking antelope or big-horn sheep when in all my travels out West I've never caught a glimpse of either in the wild, so reduced are their numbers. While TR for the most part only hunted for the meat he needed to sustain himself and his ranch hands, his hunting accounts which comprise roughly the last third of the book reminded me of what has been lost -- the vast herds of bison, the massive flocks of passenger pigeons, and all the bounty of the plains, with the most wary of the predators and prey now existing in isolated pockets, their former habitat reduced by the onward march of civilization.

And, for the record, fifteen pages describing the habits of the white goat of the high peaks was really more than I cared to read, though I marveled at TR's powers of observation and his enthusiasm for tracking down this elusive creature. I only wished he'd been armed with a camera rather than a rifle. Read this book as a key to understanding both TR's character and an iconic period of the United States. It does an excellent job of shedding light on both. The descriptions of what live, especially hunting, was like a hundred years ago are amazing!

This was well worth the reading for a few reasons. First of all, it captures a bit of a way of life that has mournfully passed on. Roosevelt recounts the hardships and joys of his life as a North Dakota rancher and make you wish that this world could somehow be restored.

Even in his time, he saw it fading away. In his accounts he describes the nature of the land, the habits of the wildlife, and the characteristics of the men who lived there in the s. I learned a few things about ranching and This was well worth the reading for a few reasons. I learned a few things about ranching and the habits of cattle on the life of the cowboy. Somewhere in those Saturday afternoon Western serials you will find some true elements of cowboy life, but Roosevelt's description of their tedious work takes you behind the scenes and unveils some of the wearisome toil that accompanied these rugged men.

Ranch life and the hunting-trail

The book also reveals Teddy's Roosevelt's personal charisma. In the frequent repetition of ideas and sudden subject shifts, you catch a glimpse of his enthusiasm for this life, his pursuit of "manliness", and his commanding personality. I can understand how you could walk into a room angry with him, ready to give him a piece of your mind, and walk out arm in arm kicking yourself for forgetting what you were going to say.

If you are an outdoorsman with an interest in hunting, you will enjoy the astute observations of the habits of elk, deer, bear, cougars, mountain goats, big horn sheep, grouse, rabbits, foxes, and wolves, as well as his description of hunting methods.

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If you are an historian, the book is interesting for both the light is sheds on the life of Theodore Roosevelt and on the lifestyle of the inhabitants of the Plains and Mountains in the s. And if you just like to hear a tale told with enthusiasm, this book is has several vignettes that will keep your attention.

Apr 28, David Platt rated it really liked it. Very descriptive account of day to day life on the ranch and the strategies for hunting in the Dakota territories and Montana.

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TR does not write much about his personal feelings—his book was more about overt experiences and behavior rather than inner thoughts. Roosevelt wrote that cattle from the Old World could not handle the severe winters of the northern U. Modern practices result in most cattle surviving bad winters today, but only because they must be fed stores of grain and given artificial shelter. Some details of how hunted animals died could be somewhat disturbing.

I agree with Kay, who wrote in her review: Jan 10, Kathy rated it it was amazing Shelves: Teddy Roosevelt is a great writer.


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He had such a full and interesting life as a cowboy in the s and s. And he does a great job of describing everything about people, places, and wildlife in those times. So fun to read a book written in that describes things in such interesting detail! Very readable and adventurous and dreamy! Mar 03, Michael Tabman rated it liked it. Very interesting look at ranch life as the title states of the late s.

This is not something I would usually read, but it was nice to try something new.

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The beginning of the book was more captivating as it told of TR's rough ranch life. It slowed down a bit in the second half, but still worth the read - if this is your kind of reading. Roosevelt left his home in the East as Theodore, but he returned as "Teddy," a rugged outdoorsman and soon-to-be hero of the Rough Riders. Recounted with infectious enthusiasm, Roosevelt's tales range from ranching on the open plains to hunting in the mountains.

His reminiscences conjure up the vanished world of the frontier, with thrilling accounts of chasing bighorn sheep and horse thieves, encountering Indians, branding cattle, and bronco busting. Roosevelt's recollections helped elevate the cowboy's image from that of an ordinary farm laborer into a figure of nobility and courage. The works of Frederic Remington, another great mythmaker of the Old West, illustrate these memoirs. Sixty-five black-and-white images by this renowned American artist complement Roosevelt's stories of freedom and self-reliance.

Reprint of The Century Co. The Frontier in American History. The Wild West Discovery Kit.