by Tom Sidwell
This is well worth your time to watch these excerpts from the original 1916 cellulose nitrate film. Old cowboys will appreciate this. The setting is the Tannehill Brothers 92,000 acre lease on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in 1916. It amazes me that this film even exists. Having spent time on this land over the years, and working out there the summers of 1963 and 64, I recognize the locations quite well. By then the Reservation was no longer leased for grazing, the Tribe had formed its own Cattle Growers Association which ran the cattle operation.
I can attest to three things. One, there was a helluva lot less tree and shrub cover on that land in 1916 than there is now. Second, they had more cowboys working in 1916 than 48 years later. Third, as far as I can tell the only thing that changed with cowboying, at least on the Res., over the 48 years from 1916 to 1964 was that they no longer used a wagon and team of horses. They had converted the chuck wagon to a trailer pulled by a 1955 Chevy.
The rest of the cowboy work basically remained the same. The cowboys were each assigned a string of horses, usually none of them were broke, so a cowboy had to break his horses and work cattle at the same time. The shoeing was usually done by a couple of the hands that were good at it, in exchange for other favors, such as topping off their worst horses.
I noticed that the cook wagon was set up pretty much the same way with a wagon sheet. Also, please notice the cowboys had their bedrolls laid out near the wagon. Also, please notice them penning the remuda with a rope corral, with cowboys going inside to catch horses by throwing a julienne with their rope.
The summers I was there, the wagon boss, or foreman, was a tough old fellow named Jim Campbell, born in 1900, 64 years old, no retirement in sight, had spent every summer of his life after age 10 sleeping on the ground in a bedroll. He was one hell of a hand.
All of those old cowboys are gone now. I treasure those experiences and memories. Those experiences had a great influence on my life – I’ve always had a soft spot for old cowboys and old-time ranchers. I hope you old cowboys and cowboy-sympathizers enjoy this as much as I did.
Also, following the Mescalero film, there is a longer video about ranching in Northeastern NM that is also excellent.
Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual. This is the ideal squeal to A Handbook for Ranch Managers. Although the ecological principles remain the same, what was originally known as “The Savory Grazing Method” now answers to a multitude of different names: ranching for profit, holistic management, managed grazing, mob grazing, management intensive grazing, etc. Land & Livestock International, Inc. uses “Restoration Grazing” under its “Managing the Ranch as a Business” program.” No mater what you call it, this summary and synopsis will guide you step by step through the process and teach you how to use it as it was originally intended. No more excuses for failing to complete your grazing plans.