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A screen shot from 'Buckaroo Theodore Brown Parts a Cow from the Herd,' October 10, 1979.

Take a look at a modern day cowboy at work

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Novelist Owen Wister Was Born
July 14, 1860

"Whatever he did, he did with his might. The bread that he earned was earned hard, the wages that he squandered were squandered hard . . . If he gave his word, he kept it."

Who was Owen Wister talking about when he wrote those words in his 1902 novel, The Virginian? The American cowboy, of course. Owen Wister was born in Pennsylvania on July 14, 1860. The Virginian helped establish the myth of the American cowboy. However, as the image of the American cowboy became more popular in films and songs, real cowboy culture faded. What do you think the real life of a cowboy was like?

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VIDEO CREDIT: Smock, William H. and Carl Fleischhauer, filmmakers. “Buckaroo Theodore Brown Parts a Cow from the Herd” [16mm film], 1979. American Folklife Center, Library of Congress. Digital i.d. afc96ran v013