Tag Archives: cowboys

Flashback Friday: Rifle of Cowboy and Gunslinger Mike Shonsey Donated to Nebraska History Museum

The last surviving participant in Wyoming’s 1892 Johnson County “cattle war” was Mike Shonsey, who later died in Clarks, Nebraska. When Shonsey was a child, he moved from Montreal, Canada to Caledonia, Ohio with his parents. This is how Shonsey … Continue reading

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Flashback Friday: Why Cowboy Gun Battles Were Often Shots in the Dark

Associate Editor and black powder enthusiast Jim Potter wrote this blog post. One staple of TV or movie “Westerns” is a shoot-out in a saloon. Such confrontations are often portrayed as stemming from a volatile mix of drinking, gambling, testosterone, … Continue reading

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Flashback Friday: Why Small-town Rodeos are One of Nebraska’s Greatest Treasures

I have ridden a horse maybe three times in my life. I don’t know how to throw a rope. I have been head-butted, stepped on, tail-whipped, chased around, and dragged by cattle, but never felt the desire to wrestle or … Continue reading

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When cowboys shot up Niobrara

For a short period of time, cattle drives were big business in Nebraska. After the Civil War ended in 1865, growing demand for beef plus a surplus of longhorn cattle in Texas led to thousands of Texas cattle being herded … Continue reading

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Nebraska Cowboys of the Open Range

The American cowboy has come to symbolize bravery, justice, and the nostalgic freedom of the Wild West. But real cowboys didn’t spend all their time fighting bandits and riding into the sunset like movie heroes. What did real Nebraska cowboys … Continue reading

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Nebraska Roundups in the 1870s

Lee Brothers Ranch at Brownlee, Cherry County, in 1900. RG2608-1837 (left). By the mid-1870s Nebraska’s open-range cattle industry, centered in the western Platte Valley and the Panhandle, was experiencing growing pains. Concerns included introduction of Texas cattle to supply the … Continue reading

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Vampires of Nebraska

Group of unknown Nebraska cowboys (RG3332.PH000008) (at right). Custer County Chief, 1/3/1896 Another frightening-if-true story with a supernatural twist comes out of the northwest county of Dawes, just around the Pine Ridge. The end of 1895 saw a number of … Continue reading

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Roping Elk

James E. Farley about 1904. NSHS RG2608-2116 (at left). Cowboys occasionally roped more than cattle or horses, as James E. Farley recalled in Solomon D. Butcher’s Pioneer History of Custer County, Nebraska (1901). “Towards the end of my cowboy career,” … Continue reading

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