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Roll Away Saloon

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With his animated tales of Zane Grey, Butch Cassidy, and the Robbers Roost gang, Rider creates an engaging and believable picture of the joys and hardships of cowboy life.

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Part One At Home on the Range

ePub

The Utah-Arizona Border Area Scene of Rider’s cowboy experiences

This is quite a notorious story on the Arizona Strip because it involves liquor. As far as I can remember, all the cowboys liked to drink alcohol. Oh, boy, they’d drink home brewed, they’d drink lemon extract and vanilla extract. The freighters couldn’t get it in there fast enough. The stores would sell out right away. That’s a fact.

So they built this little saloon and it was right on the Arizona-Utah line four miles south of Kanab and four miles north of Fre-donia about seven or eight rods to the west of the present highway. It was just kind of a two-room affair, with a bar at one end and the barkeeper’s bedroom at the other end. It wasn’t very large, maybe twelve by eighteen feet, but it created quite a bit of disturbance among the Mormon housewives of Fredonia and Kanab because their men would come staggering up home on their horses, too late for dinner, unable to take their saddles off. So the men of these towns, fearing their women, built this saloon on rollers, log rollers that went clear under the joist.

 

Part Two Of Guns, Gold and Near Starvation

ePub

Since, in my early youth, I was a cowboy eager for the thrills associated with wild mustangs, the lariat, wild, renegade long ears, and bawling, pouncing calves-campfire stories during these years found me an eager listener. I heard at first hand about lost men in the forest who, according to these stories, never traveled in a straight line but wandered about on the arc of a circle. This behavior of rational men seemed rather unreal as I had never had the experience of being lost. The stories also told of lost persons who, instead of getting panicky when they knew for sure that they were lost, gave their horse his head and were brought safely into camp. They often swore that they felt the horse was traveling in the wrong direction all the time.

The natural instinct of direction seems to be inherent with the animal kingdom, but in man this instinct has to be developed. One’s environment must be carefully studied by constant vigilance day and night; one must note the direction of winds, the bending of flowers, the shadows, the moss on the bark of trees, the difference and density of foliage on hillsides, the direction of drainage in all draws and ravines, and many other natural signs. It also requires a constant observation of our universe night after night; the position of all the visible planets and prominent constellations in the heavens every month of the year must be known.

 

Part Three Capers on the Kaibab

ePub

One of the greatest experiences of my life was making the acquaintance of our great President of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt. This episode was entirely unexpected and it happened on the Kaibab Forest in Arizona many years ago, in 1913. Alec Indian, who was a Piute Indian and one of the greatest cowboys I ever rode with or ever became acquainted with, was my partner this particular day. We were camped at VT Park on the Kaibab and we were assigned to ride the forest, bring in all the cattle that we could find, drive them into Park Lake, into the corrals which we had built there, brand the unbranded, and take out the steers which would be joined with the day herd for the trail to the railroad 350 miles away at Lund, Utah.

About midmorning we jumped about twenty head of cattle in the vicinity of Bright Angel, on the north rim of the Grand Canyon. They were wild and as they broke to run, they crashed the timber and made considerable noise. Our horses were trained for this event and knew exactly what to do. Alec was riding my right, I took the left, and our purpose was to follow that herd of cattle until they were winded and then come out in lead of them and, finally, as they gentled down, to turn them in the direction of the corral which was some six or seven miles away. As my horse broke into a fast run, he leaped over a very large, fallen pine tree. And, as we went over, I saw along the side of the pine tree a cougar feeding on a deer which he had just killed. My horse sensed the situation, and, as a horse is very much frightened of cougar, he decided that he did not want to light at all in that vicinity. He quivered in the air and almost shook me out of the saddle and when he did land he was really drifting.

 

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