A Greenhorn in Old Montana

John R. Barrows
Introduction by Richard B. Roeder

282 pages


September 1990


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"Dramatic and colorful."—New York Times

About the Book

A voracious reader of dime novels, young John Barrows looked forward to blazing action as an Indian fighter or scout in Montana Territory. But when he arrived with his parents in the Musselshell Valley in 1879 he saw more sheepmen and cattlemen than Indians or Buffalo Bills. He worked in his father's trading post and soon found in the range cowboy his model of manhood. John Barrows recalls his early career as a cowboy for the DHS outfit in the 1880s in U-bet, often overlooked since its original publication in 1934 but regarded by the cognoscenti as a classic to rival Andy Adam's Log of a Cowboy.

A greenhorn's initiation into trail herding, roping, and branding is described with a mastery of language rarely brought to the subject, for Barrows loved books as well as broncobusting. Winters usually found him back at the settlement of Ubet in Judith Gap, where his parents had come to operate a hotel for travelers on the stage line from Billings to Fort Benton. In a few years John Barrows stored a host of impressions of a raw part of the West rapidly changing. Is the reader of his unvarnished reminiscences in for a rousing experience? You bet.

Author Bio

Richard Roeder, a history professor at Carroll College, Helena, Montana, discusses the life of a Milton of the sagebrush in his introduction to this edition.


"Dramatic and colorful."—New York Times