By: Jim Taylor
Having grown up amongst cowboys on a ranch in southern Montana, I was moved by a video I was introduced to on YouTube entitled “This Is The Last Cowboy Song” by Kirstie Lambert. Kirstie provided the photography and the song – Last Cowboy Song – is by Ed Bruce. Kirstie is a disciple and student of the late David Stoecklein whose photographs of ranches and the people who own and work them are legendary. She put this together for him in the last days of his life.
The thought that this way of life might be ending is sad. It is sad because this was a breed of men and women where the work was an end in itself – not a means to an end. The cowboy ethic included concepts such as a man’s word is his bond; one always does more than his share so as not to be beholden to others; and you always ride for the brand. I never became a cowboy but I have always tried to live by the cowboy ethic and have tried to pass those concepts on to my children.
I have sold ranches for 45 years this month and I have to believe that there is a good chance that the wealthy men and women who buy ranches these days will embrace these concepts and ensure that their children and grandchildren are well exposed to them. I am pretty convinced that you don’t need to be a cowboy to appreciate the many lessons that life on a ranch can teach. And let’s hope that the men and women who live this creed will continue to do so and provide an example for all of us to follow.