Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Codes of the West

Other forms of entertainment included an occasional visit to the home of some nearby nester; these visits were more frequent if the nester’s daughters were of “courting age.” Practical jokes on each other and the occasional visitor to the camp often made the camp life less lonely.

In these jokes the established codes of the west were observed with due respect. The punchers in the camp never knew if the stranger in their midst was a drifting puncher “on the square” or a dangerous criminal with a very itchy trigger finger. Regardless of the identity of the visitor, he was always welcome to share the dugout. If he arrived at the dugout when no rider was there, he helped himself to what food he needed, washed his dishes, slept in the dugout if he wished, and went his way. If the camper was there, no personal questions were asked of the stranger, and he volunteered only such information about himself as he cared to disclose. If the visitor was an acquaintance of the camper or campers, the evening took a more affable aspect with practical jokes, possibly a game of cards, and much exchanging of ideas or experiences.
From The Camp Life of a Cowpuncher by Carroll Doshier as told by Jim Christian

Monday, May 21, 2007

Cowboys and Love Stories

For entertainment in the line camps, the punchers depended largely on reading material. In the fall the campers would get a complete series of magazines from Kansas City with nothing in them but love stories. At night one of the campers would read the stories aloud while the other camper kept the fire going. Sometimes one of the men would get so mad at the characters in the story that he would go outside the dugout and fire his six-shooter into the air.
From The Camp Life of a Cowpuncher by Carroll Doshier as told by Jim Christian

Monday, May 14, 2007

Charlie Enjoyed a Good Joke More Than Anyone

I had never cared much for card playing for I had seen so many fellers lose their heads over it, but in the winter camp when a puncher dropped in for a visit, I liked to play. I’ll never forget one night Steve Keaterson came to my camp and was trying to teach me a game. He kept talking about what a bonehead Charlie Taul was when it came to learning card games. During all that time, Charlie was lying just outside the camp. He had put his slicker over the chimney, and was waiting to see the smoke run us out. Charlie enjoyed a good joke more than anyone.
From The Camp Life of a Cowpuncher by Carroll Doshier as told by Jim Christian

Monday, May 7, 2007

A $3000 Saloon Bill

If a man was found with a deck of cards or if two men were in a card game, Mr. Goodnight just fired them. NO fighting or horse racing was allowed. You see we all carried guns, and it would be dangerous to have two men at outs. It would have been a good place to raise a boy. There was never any whisky or anything. The men would get to feel rather good sometimes when they went to town, but they were never in town more than one day. On one of the trips to Dodge City, Goodnight told the men that he would give them two days off and told the restaurant man—it was sort of a restaurant and saloon together—to let the men have all they wanted and to send the bill to him. Well those 14 or 15 men had a bill of $3000 for the two days.
From Fred Scott transcripts