Throughout the world, the cowboy is an instantly recognized symbol of the North American West. Legends of Our Times breaks the stereotype of 'cowboys and Indians' to show an almost unknown side of the West. It tells the story of some of the first cowboys - Native peoples of the northern Plains and Plateau.
Through stories, poetry, art, and reminiscences in this lavishly illustrated work, Native people invite the reader on a fascinating journey into the world of ranching and rodeo. The book also presents the special relationship between Native people and animals such as the horse, buffalo, deer, and dog, which have always played an important role in Native spiritual and economic life.
By the mid-nineteenth century, Native people were highly valued for their skills in horse breeding and herding, and could take advantage of new economic opportunities in the emerging ranching industry. Faced with limited resources, competition for land, and control by governments and Indian agents, many Native people still managed to develop their own herds or to find work as cowboys.
As the ways of the Old West changed, new forms of entertainment and sport evolved. Impresarios such as Buffalo Bill Cody invented the Wild West show, employing Native actors and stunt performers to dramatize scenes from the history of the West and to demonstrate the friendly competitions that cowboys enjoyed at the end of a long round-up or cattle drive. The popularity of rodeos also grew within Native communities, and arenas were built on many reserves. Native rodeos are still held, while many Native competitors ride in professional rodeos as well.
Today, Plains and Plateau peoples proudly continue a long tradition of cowboying. Legends of Our Times is a celebration of their rich contribution to ranching and rodeo life.