Wild West Hard Tack

Hard Tack


Bacon grease for cooking

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon salt

Water (to form a stiff dough)



  1. Mix the four and salt together in a large pot.
  2. Add enough water to form a stiff, non-sticky dough.
  3. Roll out on a  floured surface into a 1/2-inch slab and cut into 3-inch squares.
  4. Punch several nail-holes in each piece to allow the steam to escape during cooking.
  5. Grease a fire-proof baking pan or Dutch-oven and place it on the fire.
  6. Add hard tack pieces and cover with a lid.
  7. Bake until brown.



  • A tomahawk is a single-handled ax from North America.
  • It closely resembles a hatchet.
  • This multi-purpose chopping tool was familiar to both Native Americans and Colonials.
  • It could also be used as a weapon, either in hand-to-hand combat or thrown from a distance.
  • The tomahawk is thought to have been invented by the Algonquin Indians.
  • The first designs were made from flint, bound by rawhide to a wooden handle.
  • When the Europeans arrived they introduced a more effective metal blade.
  • They are usually about 2-feet long with maple, hickory, or ash handles.
  • The opposite side of the blade could form a spike, hammer, or be drilled to make a smoking-pipe.
  • The tomahawk became a popular symbol when Colonists and Native Tribes met – they could choose the pipe of peace or the ax of war!

The Sundance Kid

Henry Alonzo Longabaugh


  • Henry Alonzo Longabaugh was born in Pennsylvania.
  • He stole a gun, horse, and saddle from a ranch in Sundance, Wyoming.
  • After he served time for this crime in the local jail he adopted the nickname, Sundance Kid.
  • His girlfriend (pictured above) was Etta Place.  She and Butch Cassidy fled the country with Sundance.
  • There was a reward of $30,000 on members of the Wild Gang.
  • They first went to Argentina but eventually settled in Bolivia.
  • Etta left the two outlaws and returned to the US under an assumed name, predicting the men would die violently.
  • Her prophecy came true. It is believed that Sundance died in a Bolivian shootout in November, 1908.


Nash, Jay Robert, “The Real Butch Cassidy and His Wild Bunch,” at  http://www.annalsofcrime.com/03-01.htm

Rosa, Joseph, G. Age of the Gunfighter: Man and Weapons on the Frontier, 1840-1900. Oklahoma: U of Oklahoma P, 1995.

Wikipedia, “Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch,” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butch_Cassidy%27s_Wild_Bunch

___, “Sundance Kid,” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sundance_Kid

Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch

Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch (a.k.a. The Hole in the Wall Gang)

  • The Wild Bunch Gang was founded by Butch Cassidy (Robert Leroy Parker) in a place known as Hole In The Wall, part of the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming.
  • They were the most successful train-robbing outfit in history.
  • These colorful outlaws were active from 1899-1901.
  • Although they had a large ‘body-count’ between them, these desperados claimed never to have intentionally killed an innocent by-stander.
  • Famous members – aside from Butch Cassidy – included The Sundance Kid (Henry A. Longabaugh), Kid Curry (Harry Logan), News Carver (Will Carver), and The Tall Texan (Ben Kilpatrick).
  • There were a total of 19 train-robbers who branched out into bank, stagecoach, and store heists, as well as cattle and horse rustling.
  • They were often assisted by the Bassett Sisters (Ann and Josie) who supplied them with food, fresh horses, and female company.
  • What differentiated the Wild Bunch from other gangs is their intelligent planning and good-mannered bantering.
  • The gang broke up after Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were forced to flee the United States.
  • Their fame and success ultimately attracted too much attention from the law!


Nash, Jay Robert, “The Real Butch Cassidy and His Wild Bunch,” at  http://www.annalsofcrime.com/03-01.htm

Rosa, Joseph, G. Age of the Gunfighter: Man and Weapons on the Frontier, 1840-1900. Oklahoma: U of Oklahoma P, 1995.

Wikipedia, “Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch,” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butch_Cassidy%27s_Wild_Bunch


Boiled Beef Dinner


1 pint water

4lb corned beef

6 potatoes, cubed

I onion, chopped

6 carrots, sliced

1 turnip, quartered

1 butternut squash, cubed

1 cabbage, quartered

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper



  1. Place the corned beef in a large pot or deep skillet.
  2. Cover with the water.  Add the salt and pepper.
  3. Bring to the boil, cover, and reduce heat.  Cook for 3 hours until the meat turns tender.
  4. Stir in the potatoes, carrots, and turnip.  Boil for 30 minutes.
  5. Add the squash and cabbage.  Stir well.  Boil for an additional 15 minutes.
  6. Thoroughly mix everything together.  Serve piping hot.


The Ballad of Casey Jones

(Wallace Saunders)

Come, all you Rounders, if you want to hear
The story told of a brave engineer,
Casey Jones was the Rounder’s name
A high right-wheeler of mighty fame.
Of mighty fame, of mighty fame
A high right-wheeler of mighty fame.

Casey pulled into the Memphis yard
Fed up, beat down, and dog tired,
Another driver had called in sick
Asking Casey to do a double trick.
Casey smiled, said, “I’m feelin’ fine
Gonna ride that train to the end of the line.
There’s ridges and bridges, and hills to climb
Got a head of steam and ahead of time.
Ahead of time, ahead of time,
Got a head of steam and ahead of time.”

Caller called Casey, half-past four.
He kissed his wife at the station door
Climbed into the cab, orders in his hand
“Could be my trip to the Promised Land.”
Through South Memphis on the fly
The fireman say, “You got a white eye.”
The switchmen knew by the engine’s moan
The man at the throttle was Casey Jones,
Was Casey Jones, was Casey Jones,
The man at the throttle was Casey Jones.
The engine rocked, the drivers rolled
Fireman hollered, “Save my soul!”
“I’m gonna roll her ‘til she leaves the rails
I’m behind time with the Southern mail.”

Been raining hard for weeks and weeks,
Railroad track like the bed of a creek,
Rated down to a thirty-mile gait,
The Southern mail two hours late.
Two hours late, two hours late,
The Southern mail was two hours late.
Fireman say, “You running too fast!
You ran the last three lights we passed.”
Casey say, “We’ll make it through
She’s steaming better than I ever knew.”
Casey say, “Don’t you fret
Keep feeding the fire; don’t give up yet
Run her ‘til she leaves the rail
To be on time with the Southern mail.                                                                                                                                                                                         The Southern Mail, the Southern mail,
To be on time with the Southern mail.

Checked his water, his water was low,
Looked at his watch, his watch was slow.
“Put on more water, put on more coal
Put your head out the window see my drivers roll!
See my drivers roll, see my drivers roll,
Put your head out the window see my drivers roll.”
People said Casey couldn’t run
But I can tell you what Casey done;
Left Memphis, quarter ‘til nine
Vaughn, Mississippi, right on time
Got within a mile of the place                                                                                                                                                                                                            A big headlight stared him in the face;
Shout to the fireman, “Jump for your life!
Give my love to my children, say goodbye to my wife.”
Casey said, just before he died
“There’s a lot more railroads that I’d like to ride;”
He said the good Lord whispered, “It’ll never be,
The Illinois Central be the death of me!”
Headaches and heartaches and all kinds of pain
Ain’t no different from a railroad train
You can take your stories, noble and grand
All just a part of a railroad man.

Ball Play, Stick Ball, And The Game of Lacrosse

  • Ball Play / Stick Ball was the early version of lacrosse, popular with many Native American tribes.
  • It was originally called Anetsa (“little brother of war”), and was frowned on by Christian missionaries who recognized the pagan practices and influences associated with the game.
  • Originally, huge bets were wagered on the winners – choking an opponent was a common practice – and broken limbs were expected.  These particular aspects lessened over time.
  • Ball Play was a popular spectator event and people dressed up for the occasion.
  • It was a full-contact sport that included wrestling and tackling moves.
  • The participants were young men, clothed in only a team waist-cloth, with their exposed flesh covered in bear grease.
  • An elaborate ritual took place the night before the game which involved scratching the players.  Spells were cast on the opposition to make them weak.
  • Players remained hidden while the game-director cleared a large, level plain of all sticks and stones.  Two stick-goals were set up about six hundred yards apart.
  • Teams were kept even and they numbered anywhere from 20-100 participants, though 30 warriors on each side was the average.
  • They entered the field whooping and shouting and then marched slowly to the center.
  • Each player carried a pair of ball sticks.  These were made from hickory wood and had a braided net at the end.
  • Lacrosse balls were about the size of a golf ball and were made from stuffed deer hide.
  • Before the game started, young women dashed onto the field and gave favors of belts and handkerchiefs to their champions.
  • After a lengthy speech from the game-director the ball was thrown in the air and the contest began.
  • The game was refereed by two drivers.
  • Rules were similar to that of modern-day lacrosse.
  • The first team to score 12 goals against their rivals won the competition.
  • Stick Ball was vigorous, fast, and exciting.
  • Games lasted about 2 hours, then the contestants ran to the river for an icy bath.


Finger, John R. The Eastern Band of Cherokees, 1819-1900. Tennessee: U of Tennessee P, 1984.

Wikipedia, “History of Lacrosse,” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_lacrosse


Maple Rice Pudding


2 1/2 cups of rice

2 1/2 cups of milk

1 cup maple syrup

1 cup raisins or sultanas

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Butter to grease pudding dish



  1. Grease an oven-proof pudding dish with the butter.
  2. Place the rice and milk in a large pot.  Stir well.
  3. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and maple syrup together.  Fold into the rice mixture.
  4. Stir in all the other ingredients.
  5. Pour in the buttered pudding dish.  Cover with a tight lid.
  6. Carefully place over a pan of boiling water (or use a stove-top double boiler).
  7. Cook for approximately 1 hour, replenishing the water at frequent intervals so the pan does not boil dry.
  8. Stir occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking on the bottom.
  9. Serve with cream if desired.

The Ghost Dance Prophet

Wovoka (1856 – 1932)

  • Wovoka was the Paiute religious leader who triggered The Ghost Dance Movement.
  • His white name was Jack Wilson.
  • When the prophet was orphaned as a child he was adopted by the Wilson Family – Nevada ranchers who taught him English and Christianity.
  • He left the ranch to become a tribal Holy Man.
  • Wovoka claimed he could control the weather, and several of his followers told of his miraculous deeds.  He was said to be able to light his pipe with the sun.  Some people claimed he was the new Messiah – the Native version of Jesus.
  • On January 1, 1889 Wovoka experienced a vision during a solar eclipse.
  • He saw the resurrection of their dead ancestors, and a removal of the white people from North America.
  • To bring this vision to pass, his followers had to perform a 5-day dancing and singing ritual called The Ghost Dance.
  • Some believers made special Ghost Shirts for the ceremony.  They were said to be bullet proof.
  • The prophet, however, never left Paiute land.  Followers came to him. He relied on missionary disciples to spread his teachings across the various tribes.
  • Unfortunately, this allowed his words to be misinterpreted and misrepresented.
  • Although he taught a non-violent restitution to former glory, men like Short Bull and Kicking Bear manipulated his pacifism to insight rebellion on some of the reservations.
  • The Ghost Dance gained such rapid popularity it was seen as a threat to white stability.
  • The Pine Ridge Agency was singled out as a hotbed of dissention, which culminated in the tragedy of the Wounded Knee Massacre and the end of the Ghost Dance Movement.


Brown, Dee, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Wilson)

PBS:The West, “Wovoka / Jack Wilson,” at https://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/people/s_z/wovoka.htm

ViewZone, “Wovoka,” at http://www.viewzone.com/wovoka.html

Wikipedia, “Wovoka,” at  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wovoka


They Call The Wind Maria

(Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe)

Away out here they’ve got a name
For rain, and wind, and fire.
The rain is Tess,
The fire is Joe,
And they call the wind, Maria!

Maria blows the stars around
Sets the clouds a-flying.
Maria makes
The mountains sound like folks was out there dying.
Maria (Maria)
Maria (Maria)
They call
The wind

Before I knew
Maria’s name,
And heard her wail and whining
I had a gal
And she had me,
And the sun
Was always shining.

But then one day
I left my gal,
I left her far behind me.
And now I’m lost,
So gold-darn lost
Not even God
Can find me.
They call
The wind

Out here they have a name for rain,
And wind and fire only.
When you’re lost and all alone,
There ain’t no name for lonely.
I am a lost and lonely man
Without a star to guide me,
Maria, blow my love to me
I need my gal beside me.
Maria (Maria)
Maria (Maria)
They call
The wind
Maria (Maria)
They call
The wind

Kit’s Crit: The Earth Is Weeping (Peter Cozzens)

The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story Of The Indian Wars For The American West

(Peter Cozzens)

The Earth Is Weeping is one of the most comprehensive and well-written accounts of the American Indian Wars of 1861-1891.  Peter Cozzens’ impeccably-researched, objective portrayal of the acts of bravery and incomprehensible atrocities committed on both sides makes compelling reading.  He examines the trusts and betrayals – mistrusts and support – vengeance – greed – long standing rivalries and hatreds that made up the causes and effects of the wars for the plains.

Cozzens takes pains to point out that there was no government extermination policy, but rather a lot of good and bad intentions in the name of Manifest Destiny.  Inter-tribal battles and inter-racial tensions helped escalate a volatile situation into the ultimate tragedy at Wounded Knee, where the Native Americans became overwhelmed by a technically-stronger invading force.  There is no romanticizing of men like Custer and Geronimo either.  Cozzens examines their strengths and weaknesses, achieving a candid balance to this bloody period in American history.

The Earth Is Weeping makes excellent addition to Dee Brown’s classic, Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.  Highly recommended.

Federal Chocolate Fudge


2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons butter

2 squares of chocolate or 2 tablespoons cocoa

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons corn syrup

2/3 cups milk or cream

Grease for pan.


  1. Heat the sugar, milk, chocolate (cocoa), and corn syrup together in a large pot.
  2. Mix well, until the sugar is totally melted.
  3. Stir continually until the mixture makes a soft ball.  Take care not to burn the base.
  4. Blend in the butter and vanilla.
  5. Put aside to cool.
  6. Beat out any bubbles or lumps and spread on a marble slab, or press firmly into a buttered pan.
  7. Allow to chill and set firm.
  8. Cut into squares.

“The Worst Indian Who Ever Lived”

Geronimo (1829-1909)

  • Geronimo was an Apache war leader and medicine man.
  • Although he was highly feared and respected, he was too unpopular to ever be made a chief.
  • He fought the Mexican and U.S. Armies over Apache land.
  • His hatred for Mexicans came after they murdered his mother, young wife, and three children.
  • Although he later had eight other wives, Geronimo’s legendary aggression was fuelled by this horrific crime.
  • He became one of the most brutal warriors on record and committed several infamous atrocities.
  • White settlers called him “the worst Indian who ever lived.”  In one raid he “pillaged ranches, swept up livestock, and killed randomly, torturing men in every conceivable way, roasting women alive, and tossing children into nests of needle-crowned cacti” (Cozzens, 385).
  • Geronimo’s followers believed he had supernatural powers, including prophecy and magical protection.  Rifles jammed when trying to shoot him, and anyone riding with him was also protected from bullets.  It was said he could make rain, and stop the sun from rising.
  • During the Apache wars he “surrendered” three times and was sent to a reservation in Arizona.  Each time he escaped.
  • After his third breakout in 1885 he was exiled to Florida.
  • In later life the war leader became a celebrity, appearing in President Theodore Roosevelt’s inaugural parade, and signing autographs at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.
  • He died in the Fort Sill hospital of pneumonia following a riding accident.
  • Chatto (an Apache leader) said, “I have known Geronimo all my life up to his death and have never known anything good about him.”
  • Lieutenant Britton Davis (U.S Army) called him a “thoroughly vicious, intractable, and treacherous man,” whose only redeeming qualities were “courage and determination” (Cozzens, 380).


Cozzens, Peter. The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West (New York: Knopf, 2016)

History Lists, “7 Things You may Not Know About Geronimo,” at http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/7-things-you-may-not-know-about-geronimo

Wikipedia, “Geronimo,” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geronimo


Cowboy Corncakes

Cowboy Corncakes


2 tablespoons flour

2 cups cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs (beaten)

1 tablespoon butter or margarine (melted)

1/2 cup milk

Grease for cooking


  1. Place the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  Mix.
  2. Stir in the beaten eggs and the melted butter or margarine.
  3. Using a fork (not a whisk) slowly add the milk, beating until the mixture makes a thin, smooth batter.
  4. Spoon into rounds on a hot, greased skillet or griddle.
  5. Cook briefly.
  6. Turn over.  Evenly brown the reverse side.
  7. Serve hot.


Don’t Fence Me In

(Cole Porter)

Oh, give me land, lots of land, under starry skies above,
Don’t fence me in!
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love,
Don’t fence me in!
Let me be by myself in the evening breeze
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees,
Send me off forever, but I ask you please,
Don’t fence me in!

Just turn me loose, let me straddle my old saddle
Underneath the western skies,
On my Cayuse, let me wander over yonder
‘Till I see the mountains rise.

I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences,
And gaze at the moon ’till I lose my senses,
And I can’t look at hovels and I can’t stand fences,
Don’t fence me in!

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above,
Don’t fence me in!
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love,
Don’t fence me in!
Let me be by myself in the evening breeze
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees,
Send me off forever, but I ask you please,
Don’t fence me in!

Just turn me loose, let me straddle my old saddle
Underneath the western skies,
On my Cayuse, let me wander over yonder
‘Till I see the mountains rise.
Ba boo ba ba boo.

I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences
And gaze at the moon ’till I lose my senses
And I can’t look at hobbles, and I can’t stand fences,
Don’t fence me in.
No Poppa, don’t you fence me in!

Peyote Medicine

Peyote Medicine.

  • Peyote comes from a small, spineless cactus that produces the psychedelic compound, mescaline.
  • The Spanish word peyote translates into glistening.
  • In the Nahuatl language peyote means  Divine Messenger.
  • Native Americans have used peyote in their spiritual ceremonies for at least 5,500 years.
  • This cactus is native to Mexico and Southern Texas.
  • It blossoms from March – May, sometimes blooming into September.
  • The flowers are pink, white, yellowish, or reddish in color.
  • After blooming, a small pink fruit appears.  This is edible and contains black, pear-shaped seeds.
  • The plant produces little buttons that contain hallucinogenic properties.  These are chewed or boiled to make a bitter tea.
  • Native Americans also use peyote for medicinal purposes: fevers, tooth complaints, skin diseases, rheumatism, colds, diabetes, and to aid in childbirth.
  • During religious ceremonies this plant is said to induce a mystical experience, whereby the users feel a special connection to God – the Great Mystery.
  • Peyote is both a practical and a spiritual medicine.


Hallucinogens.com, “Peyote,” at http://hallucinogens.com/peyote/

Native American Churches, “The Sacrament (Peyote) Ceremony,” at https://nativeamericanchurches.org/the-sacrament-peyote-ceremony/

Wikipedia, “Peyote,” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peyote

Dixie Corn Dodgers

Dixie Corn Dodgers


2 cups coarse cornmeal

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2/3 cup milk

2 tablespoon grease (butter, bacon dripping, or vegetable oil)

Extra grease for frying


  1. Place the cornmeal, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl.
  2. Mix together.
  3. Stir in the grease and the milk.
  4. Form into 8 bullet-shape rolls.
  5. Heat the cooking grease in a heavy skillet.  When piping hot, add the corn dodgers.
  6. Brown on one side.
  7. Turn and brown on the other.
  8. Serve warm.

Oscar Hammerstein’s OKLAHOMA!


(Oscar Hammerstein)

There’s never been a better time to start in life,
It ain’t too early and it ain’t too late!
Starting as a farmer with a brand new wife,
Soon be living in a brand new state,
Brand new state – gonna treat you great!
Gonna bring you barley, carrots and potatoes,
Pasture for the cattle, spinach and tomatoes,
Flowers on the prairie where the June bugs zoom,
Plenty of air and plenty of room,
Plenty of room to swing a rope,
Plenty of heart and plenty of hope.
OOOOk-lahoma! Where the wind comes sweeping down the plain,
And the waving wheat can sure smell sweet
When the wind comes right behind the rain.
OOOOk-lahoma!  Every night my honey lamb and I,
Sit alone and talk and watch a hawk
Making lazy circles in the sky.
We know we belong to the land (yo-ho)
And the land we belong to is grand.
And when we say
“Yeeow! Aye-yip-aye-yo-ee-ay!”
We’re only saying
“You’re doing fine, Oklahoma!
Oklahoma O.K.!”
Ooook-lahoma! Where the wind comes sweeping down the plain,
And the waving wheat can sure smell sweet
When the wind comes right behind the rain.
Oklahoma! Every night my honey lamb and I,
Sit alone and talk and watch a hawk
Making lazy circles in the sky.
We know we belong to the land
And the land we belong to is grand.
And when we say
“Yeeow! Aye-yip-aye-yo-ee-ay!”
We’re only saying
“You’re doing fine, Oklahoma!
Oklahoma O.K.”
We know we belong to the land
And the land we belong to is grand.
And when we say
“Yeeow! Aye-yip-aye-yo-ee-ay!”
We’re only saying
“You’re doing fine, Oklahoma!
O.K. L – A – H – O – M – A
Click to see the film version:

25 Facts: The Crow

The Crow Nation.

  1. The word Crow comes from the people’s description of themselves — Apsaalooke or Absaroka — meaning Children of the Large-beaked Bird, which was widely interpreted as The Crow.
  2. Their world was created by the tricksters, Old Man Coyote.  He gave the first people their language, prayers, ceremonies, laws, and clan system.
  3. The Crow are a matrilineal society with thirteen named clans.
  4. They are the only tribe with a Tobacco Society among the clans.
  5. Their original homeland was in Canada, but they were pushed into Montana and Wyoming by rival tribes.
  6. At first they lived in static earthen lodges.
  7. Their traditional farming lifestyle changed radically when they acquired horses in the early Eighteenth Century.  Thereafter, they became nomadic buffalo hunters who adopted the four-pole tipi.
  8. Crow tipis were typically unpainted and were transported on horse-drawn travois.
  9. They hunted buffalo, elk, and deer.
  10. Crow women decorate their dresses with distinctive elk-tooth designs on the front and back.
  11. They were prohibited from interacting with others during menstruation.
  12. They rarely practiced basketry, pottery, or weaving.
  13. Braves secure a life-long spirit guide through a vision quest, where they are given their individual medicine bundle for protection.
  14. Crow members have access to the spirit world through their guardian spirits or medicine fathers.
  15. They traditionally relied on herbalists for medicinal cures, and on their medicine bundles for spiritual advice and healing.
  16. The Crow practice Sun Dances and Peyote Meetings as part of their religious system.
  17. A chief was expected to perform a series of coups – touching an enemy in combat, stealing a horse, taking an enemy’s weapon, and leading a war raid.
  18. Inter-tribal conflicts and rivalries sometimes resulted in armed fighting.
  19. In the old days, the Crow were a polygamous people with a casual system of marriage and divorce.
  20. The berdache tradition (cross-gender identification) was common, but often non-sexual.  They were thought of as the two-spirit people.
  21. The Crow were enemies with the Blackfeet, Cheyenne, and Sioux Tribes.
  22. They use buffalo or sheep horns to fashion a sinew-back bow used for hunting and warfare.
  23. The Shoshone and Hidatsa were allies, and the Crow generally got on well with the whites.
  24. After the Fort Laramie Treaties of 1851 and 1868 they were confined to a substantial-sized reservation.
  25. In modern times, the Crows have been heavily influenced by Catholicism.


Encyclopedia.com, “Crow,” at http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/united-states-and-canada/north-american-indigenous-peoples/crow-people

Wikipedia, “Crow Nation,” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crow_Nation


Coup Feathers

The Meaning of Headdress Feathers.

Native Americans were awarded feathers that were  cut, dyed, split, or notched in a certain way.  Other Indian Tribes would recognize what these meant.  They were usually awarded for acts of bravery in battle, and for counting coup (touching an enemy at close range):

  1. A red feather indicated that the wearer had been wounded in battle.
  2. If the feather was missing the middle upper section, that warrior had counted coup five times.
  3. A brave’s first coup was rewarded with a tuft of horse-hair wound around the feather-shaft, near the tip.
  4. A red spot meant the wearer had killed an enemy.
  5. When the feather was notched the wearer had taken a scalp.
  6. Serrated edges signified that coup had been counted four times.
  7. If the feather was sliced diagonally across the top, that warrior had slit the throat of his enemy.
  8. A split feather showed the wearer was wounded on several occasions.


War Bonnets

War Bonnets.

  • War Bonnets are an important part of the Blackfoot, Sioux, Crow, Cherokee, and Plains Cree ceremonies, but are not adopted by every Native American tribe.
  • There are three distinct styles:


The Trailer (Sioux)


The Halo (Crow)


The Straight-Up (Blackfoot)

  • War Bonnets are only made from Golden Eagle feathers.
  • Each feather tells a story.  It has to be earned in an act of bravery.
  • Some feathers are painted or dyed red to commemorate a special deed or event.
  • These head-dresses are often decorated with ermine or fancy beadwork.
  • Only men have War Bonnets.
  • They are generally worn to honor chiefs or warriors.

Battlefield Pork and Beans

Battlefield Pork and Beans


2 large cans of baked beans (with or without pork)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup tomato ketchup / catsup

2 tablespoons dry mustard

6 – 8 slices uncooked bacon (chopped)

Outdoor Fire-pit Method:

  1. Mix the baked beans, sugar, ketchup, and mustard in a large cast iron pot.  Stir well.
  2. Add the bacon.
  3. Heat over the fire, stirring every 15 minutes.
  4. Cook for 2-3 hours until the bacon is thoroughly done.
  5. Serve with cornbread.

Indoor Oven Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 325 / 165 / Gas 3.
  2. Mix the baked beans, sugar, ketchup, and mustard in a large casserole / baking dish.  Stir well.
  3. Sprinkle the bacon on the top.
  4. Bake without covering for 1 hour.  Stir well.
  5. Cover with foil.
  6. Bake for a further 1 and 1/2 hours.
  7. Stir well.
  8. Serve with cornbread.


Paint Your Wagon

(A.J. Lerner and F. Loewe)

Gotta dream boy?
Gotta song?
Paint your wagon
And come along!
Where am I going?
I don’t know.
Where am I heading?
I ain’t certain.
All I know
Is I am on my way!
When will I be there?
I don’t know.
When will I get there?
I ain’t certain.
All that I know
Is I am on my way!
Gotta dream boy?
Gotta song?
Paint your wagon
[And come along – Sung In German]
[Verse sung in German]
[Verse sung in Chinese]
[Verse sung in American Indian]
Gotta dream boy?
Gotta song?
Paint your wagon
And come along!
Where am I going?
I don’t know.
When will I be there?
I ain’t certain.
What will I get?
I ain’t equipped to say.
But who gives a damn?
Who gives a damn?
Who gives a damn?
We’re on our way!
Where am I going?
I don’t know.
Where am I heading?
I ain’t certain.
All that I know
Is I am on my way!
When will I be there?
I don’t know.
When will I get there?
I ain’t certain.
All that I know
Is I am on my way!
When am I going?
I don’t know.
Where am I heading?
I ain’t certain.
All that I know
Is I am on my way!
When will I be there?
I don’t know.
When will I get there?
I ain’t certain.
All that I know
Is I am on my way!
Gotta dream boy?
Gotta song?
Paint your wagon
And come along!
Where are we going?
I don’t know.
When will we be there?
I ain’t certain.
What will we get?
I ain’t equipped to say.
But who gives a damn?
Who gives a damn?
We’re on our way!
From the movie version of Paint Your Wagon:

The Rodeo: Let It Ride!

Rough Stock Competitions.

  • Rough Stock Competitions include Bull Riding and Bronc Riding events.
  • The aim is for the cowboy to stay as long as possible on the back of a bucking animal.  This imitates the way young horses were traditionally “broken” on the ranch.
  • Bronc Riding has two divisions:  saddled and bareback riding.  These horses are no longer wild, but in fact are usually bred as bucking stock.  The rider has to hold onto the lead rope (bronc rein) and stay mounted.  The longest ride wins.
  • Bull Riding is a more dangerous version of the sport.  The aim is the same – but bulls are more unpredictable than horses and can seriously injure a fallen rider.  For this reason a rodeo clown called the “bullfighter” helps to distract the animal once the rider is down.
  • Rough Stock Competitions also have “pick-up men” (and women) who assist the riders and get them to safety.  Yee haw!

The Rodeo: Grabbing The Bull By The Horns!

Steer Wrestling.

  • Steer Wrestling is also known as Bulldogging.
  • It involves grabbing onto the horns of the steer and wrestling it to the ground.
  • This is probably the most dangerous of all the rodeo events.
  • A cowboy bulldogger risks jumping off a running horse head-first and missing the animal.
  • There is also the possibility that the steer could land on top of him, sometimes horns first.
  • The winning cowboy has the fastest time, recorded when all four of the animal’s legs leave the ground.
  • A flag is raised to mark the end of the run.  Yee haw!

The Rodeo: Ride Your Best Horse!

Barrel Racing.

  • Professional Barrel Racing is a woman’s event, though men and boys occasionally compete at a local level.
  • The aim is for a horse and rider to complete a clover-leaf pattern around a set of barrels in the fastest time.
  • They ride around 3 x 35 gallon barrels, laid out in a triangular pattern in the middle of the arena.
  • Times are measured by an electronic eye, or by a judge with a stopwatch.  The fastest rider wins outright.
  • This sport tests for speed, strength, agility, riding skill, and control. Yee haw!

The Rodeo: Never Give Up!

Roping Competitions.

  • There are 3 types of roping events featured at most rodeos: Calf (Tie-down), Breakaway, and Team (Heading and Heeling) Roping.
  • These highlight the specific skills a cowboy needs to capture cattle for branding, tagging, medical, and other purposes.
  • Cowboys use looped ropes called lariats or lassos.  They are thrown on the heads of young steers, and over the horns and back legs of larger animals.
  • The oldest timed event in rodeo competition is Calf or Tie-down Roping.  Here, the cowboy ropes a running steer, dismounts, throws the calf on the ground, and tied three of its feet together. His horse slowly backs up to help keep the lariat tight.
  • Breakaway Roping is primarily for women, and boys under 12 years of age.  In this variant of the above event, a short, flagged rope is tied lightly to the saddle horn with string.  When the calf is caught around the neck, the horse stops and the rope breaks free.  The calf runs on without being thrown down or tied up.
  • Team Roping demonstrates the joint skills needed for Heading and Heeling.  It is the only event where women and men often work together.  One rider (the header) catches a full-grown running steer by the horns, while their partner (the heeler) lassos the animal’s hind legs.  Once the bull is captured the riders face each other and lightly pull both ropes taut.  Yee haw!

The Rodeo: In It For The Ride!

Rodeo History

  • The rodeo tradition developed as a means of testing a cowboy’s speed, skill, strength, and courage.
  • Rodeo comes from the Spanish word for round up, and the first recorded English mention appeared in 1834.
  • Spanish Americans held annual rodeos for their vaqueros to gather cattle for movement, branding, breeding, selling, or slaughter.
  • After the American Civil War the rodeo became a spectator sport, with a paying audience and professional prizes.
  • Between 1890-1910, they combined with various Wild West Shows and drew a huge popular interest.
  • “Prairie Rose” Henderson was the first woman to compete in the Cheyenne Rodeo of 1901.
  • Women riders began making frequent appearances until two of them died in the ring – Bonnie McCarrol (1929), and Marie Gibson (1933).
  • After these tragic accidents the male ring was considered too dangerous for female competitors, so they began organizing their own rodeos.
  • Today, however, women are part of the national circuit.  They still compete in their own female events, but are also involved in several mixed-sex competitions.  Yee haw!


Coward of the County

(Billy Ed Wheeler and Roger Dale Rowling)

Everyone considered him
The coward of the county,
He’d never stood one single time
To prove the county wrong.
His mama called him, “Tommy”
But folks just called him, “Yellow.”
Something always told me
They were reading Tommy wrong.He was only ten years old
When his daddy died in prison,
I took care of Tommy
Because he was my brother’s son.
I still recall the final words
My brother said to Tommy
“Son, my life is over,
But yours has just begun.Promise me, son,
Not to do the things I’ve done.
Walk away from trouble if you can.
Now it don’t mean you’re weak
If you turn the other cheek.
And I hope you’re old enough to understand
Son, you don’t have to fight to be a man!”

There’s someone for everyone
And Tommy’s love was Becky,
In her arms he didn’t have

To prove he was a man.
One day, while he was working,
The Gatlin boys came calling.
They took turns at Becky
And there was three of them.Tommy opened up the door
And saw his Becky crying,
The torn dress, the shattered look,
Was more than he could stand.
He reached above the fireplace
Took down his daddy’s picture,
As his tears fell on his daddy’s face
I heard these words again.”Promise me, son,
Not to do the things I’ve done,
Walk away from trouble if you can.
Now it don’t mean you’re weak
If you turn the other cheek.
And I hope you’re old enough to understand
Son, you don’t have to fight to be a man!”

The Gatlin boys just laughed at him
When he walked into the bar room,
One of them got up
And met him half way across the floor.
Tommy turned around, they said,
“Hey, look, old yellow’s leavin’.”
You could’ve heard a pin drop
When Tommy stopped and locked the door.

Twenty years of crawling
Was bottled up inside him.
He wasn’t holding nothing back
He let them have it all.
Tommy left the bar room
Not a Gatlin boy was standing,
He said, “This one’s for Becky,”
As he watched the last one fall.
And I heard him say,

“I promised you, Dad,
Not to do the things you’ve done.
I walk away from trouble when I can.
Now please don’t think I’m weak
I didn’t turn the other cheek,
Papa, I should hope you understand –
Sometimes you’ve gotta fight when you’re a man!”

Everyone considered him
The coward of the county . . .

Cowboy Biscuits

Cowboy Biscuits


1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup unbleached flour

1/4 tablespoon salt

1/2 tablespoon baking powder

1 cup milk

3 tablespoons fat:  vegetable oil / bacon fat / lard

1/4 teaspoon paprika

Grated cheese to sprinkle


  1. Mix all the flour, salt, and baking powder in a pan or bowl.
  2. Rub in the fat until the mixture is like coarse breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the milk and stir well.
  4. Divide the soft dough into equal-sized balls.
  5. Flatten each ball to form a biscuit-shaped round.
  6. Add the biscuits to a hot griddle or pan over the fire. [Bake in a hot oven for 15 -20 minutes]
  7. Cook until the biscuits rise and the tops start to brown.
  8. Sprinkle with paprika and grated cheese.

25 Facts: The Arapaho

The Arapaho Nation

  1. The Arapaho were traditionally a Plains Tribe, found in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Kansas.
  2. They were thought to have originated in the Minnesota region, where they grew maize and other crops.
  3. These farmers got pushed onto the plains by the Ojibwe.  They first used dogs to pull their travois.
  4. After acquiring horses, the Arapaho moved further south.
  5. They followed the buffalo herds and eventually became nomadic traders.
  6. Their warriors were highly skilled horsemen.
  7. Their language is of Algonquian origin.
  8. It has been suggested that the name Arapaho comes from either the Pawnee word for trader, or the Crow word for tattoo.
  9. They have always been close allies of the Cheyenne.
  10. There are five divisions within the Arapaho Nation, each with their own distinct dialect.
  11. On the Great Plains they were further divided into the Northern Arapaho and the Southern Arapaho.
  12. There are eight military societies, clans, or soldier bands.  These are age-based.  A brave passes from one to another as he matures.
  13. The Arapaho tattoo small circles on their bodies.
  14. Each warrior painted himself and his horse in his own unique design before going on the warpath.
  15. Soldiers built up their reputations by counting coup on their enemies.
  16. Their weapons include clubs, lances, knives, tomahawks, bows, shotguns, rifles, and pistols.
  17. They traditionally lived in teepees made from buffalo hides.
  18. They hunted elk, deer, and buffalo, but they also ate berries, roots, and plants.
  19. In hard times, they were sometimes forced to eat their dogs.
  20. The Arapaho held an annual Sun Dance before the Great Summer Buffalo Hunt.
  21. The tribe were among the victims of the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864.
  22. This atrocity sparked the Indian Wars on the Southern Plains.
  23. The Northern Arapaho took part in Red Cloud’s War (1866-1868).
  24. Only five of their warriors were present at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, 1876.
  25. They were active participants of the Ghost Dance Movement in the 1880s.


Legends of America, “Arapaho: Great Buffalo Hunters of the Plains,” at http://www.legendsofamerica.com/na-arapaho.html

Northern Arapaho Tribe, “Northern Arapaho History” at http://www.northernarapaho.com/history

Wikipedia, “Arapaho” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arapaho

The Chuck Wagon

The Chuck Wagon

  • Cowboys out on the trail relied on the camp cook (“cookie”) for their food.  Meals were served up from the chuck wagon – a store room and kitchen on wheels.
  • The first chuck wagon was designed from an old army vehicle by a cattleman called Charles Goodnight in 1866.
  • The front wheels were smaller than the back to make turning easier.
  • Chuck wagons featured a barrel that could hold two days supply of water, a hooped canvas cover to protect from harsh sun or rain, a heavy tool box, and a portable larder called the chuck box.
  • The chuck box contained flour, lard, coffee, tobacco, dried apples, raisins, sugar, beans, and other staples.
  • The body of the wagon held bedrolls, grain for the horses, and spare equipment.
  • A canvas hung underneath carried firewood.
  • The cookie was often a former cowboy who had been injured.  He would have few culinary skills so the food was basic, boring, and unhealthy.
  • Food was prepared on a fold-down shelf at the rear of the wagon.  It was cooked on an open fire.
  • Meals generally featured bacon (sow-belly), beans, and some form of bread.  If the cook was a good shot with a rifle, there might also be jackrabbits, prairie chickens, deer, turkeys, or venison.
  • Hygiene was non-existent.  If there was no water for rinsing pots and plates they were scoured with grass, leaves, sand, or dry dirt.
  • Although Cookie was usually the most popular member of the crew – often acting as their banker, barber, and dentist as well – cowboys could not wait to reach the next town for a taste of fresh food, steak, and eggs!


Murdoch, David. Cowboy.  Worldwide: DK Publishing, 1993.

Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, Fort Worth, Texas.  Research Trips 2015 and 2016.

Wikipedia, “Chuck Wagons,” at  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuckwagon