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The Log of a Cowboy

Andy Adams

Book Overview: 

The Log of a Cowboy is an account of a five-month drive of 3,000 cattle from Brownsville, Texas, to Montana in 1882 along the Great Western Cattle Trail. Although the book is fiction, it is firmly based on Adams's own experiences on the trail, and it is considered by many to be the best account of cowboy life in literature. Adams was disgusted by the unrealistic cowboy fiction being published in his day; The Log of a Cowboy was his response. It is still in print, and even modern reviewers consider it a compelling classic.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Carpet that made you think you were going to bog down every step, springy like marsh land, and I was glad I came. Then the younger children were ordered to retire, and shortly afterward the man and his wife followed suit.

"When I heard the old man throw his heavy boots on the floor in the next room, I realized that I was left all alone with their charming daughter. All my fears of the early part of the evening tried to crowd on me again, but were calmed by the girl, who sang and played on the piano with no audience but me. Then she interested me by telling her school experiences, and how glad she was that they were over. Finally she lugged out a great big family album, and sat down aside of me on one of these horsehair sofas. That album had a clasp on it, a buckle of pure silver, same as these eighteen dollar bridles. While we were looking at the pictures—some of the old varmints had fought in the Revolutionary war, so she said—I noticed how close we we. . . Read More

Community Reviews

3 stars. This book was published in 1903. The author, Andy Adams, was born in 1859 in Indiana, grew up on a livestock farm there, and eventually became a cowboy in Texas in the last two decades of the nineteenth century. He knew cattle drives from personal experience, and after leaving the horse...more

Andy Adams was a cowboy for 12 years. In 1903, flat broke and annoyed by the plethora of ridiculous books that purported to depict the true-life adventures of cowboys, he decided to try his own hand at writing a novel. The result is a beautifully written book, filled with fascinating detail of ev...more

Well-written account of a cattle drive from Texas to Montana in the year 1882. For the first time I understood what cowboys actually did in addition to strumming guitars and blasting away with their six-shooters - though they do some of that too.

Andy Adams (1903, 1981). The Log of a Cowboy: A Narrative of the Old Trail Days. Time-Life Books Inc.[return]Set in the late 1800s, Adam's tale is often listed as the best account of cowboy life ever written. The author condensed a dozen year's work experience in the saddle into this book about a...more

I enjoyed this book. I found it fascinating and interesting. I loved learning how different things were without our modern technology. I was sad when the book ended, I wanted it to continue so that I could learn what a train ride was like and how the reunion with their families went. The version...more

Andy Adams was a prolific writer, and thanks to the University of Nebraska Press, some of this former cowboy's output is still in print. This true-to-life story of an 1882 cattle drive is his best known, and its retelling 100 years later in Larry McMurtry's "Lonesome Dove" is evidence of its impo...more

If you are tired of the typical Hollywood trashy view of cowboys whoreing it up while on a silly shooting vendetta, then this book is a great way to reset that sterotypical view of western cowboys created by lowbrow Californians. Andy has a very down to earth writing style that reflects his years...more

I read this many years ago. As I recall, it is very true account of the early days and life on the cattle drives. Many of these came through New Mexico and many of the drovers were Hispanic.

It took me awhile to get into this book as I at first found the narration rather dry. But the further I got into it the more I appreciated it's honest representation of what life on a cattle drive of the old west must have been like. Without the flourish of a western novel, but rather a real pict...more

This book was great. Its less about being a cowboy specifically than it is about a broader unique way of life--leaving home far behind you and striking out on a journey with a group of people. Loggers, whalers, Navy sailors, oil derrick operators. There are few occupations that isolate you to fac...more

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