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by J. Frank Dobie
This true story of the Texas brush range and the first cowboys, as thrilling as any tale of fiction, has become a classic in Western literature. It is the story of the land where cattle by tens of thousands were killed on the prairie and where the “Skinning War” was fought. It is the story of the Chisholm Trail up to Abilene and the Platte and of establishing a ranch on the free grass of the Texas Panhandle, of roping elk in Colorado, of trailing Billy the Kid in New Mexico, of the grim lands of the Pecos. And it is the story of John Young, old-time vaquero who was trail driver, hog chaser, sheriff, ranger, hunter of Mexican bandits, horse thief killer, prairie fire fighter, ranch manager, and other things—a man who was also something of a dreamer, a man of imagination.
Buried vaults stacked with gold bars, secret caches of coins and jewels plundered from the Spaniards and the Church, exposed veins of ore with nuggets the size of turkey eggs. Guarded by the bones of dead men, the legendary treasures of the Southwest still wait for those foolhardy or desperate enough to seek them.
Death is the cure for gold fever, and the lucky few who saw the riches and lived to tell of them spent the rest of their lives searching, haunted by faulty memories, changed landscapes, and quirks of fate. It is the stories of these men and the wealth they pursued that J. Frank Dobie tells in Apache Gold and Yaqui Silver.
In this masterful collection of tales, Dobie introduces us to Pedro Loco, General Mexhuira’s ghost, the German, and a colorful group of oddfellows driven to roam the hills in an eternal quest for the hidden entrance, the blazed tree, the box canyon, for fabulous wealth glimpsed, lost, and never forgotten.
Are treasures really there? Searchers still seek them. But for the reader, the treasure is here—Dobie’s tales are pure gold.
Cow People records the fading memories of a bygone Texas, the reminiscences of the cow people themselves. These are the Texans of the don’t-fence-me-in era, their faces pinched by years of squinting into the desert glare, tanned by the sun and coarsened by the dust of the Chisholm Trail. Their stories are often raucous but just as often quiet as hot plains under a pale Texan sky.
I’ll Tell You a Tale is a garland of some of Frank Dobie’s best writing, put together by Isabel Gaddis, one of his former students at the University of Texas. The tales included are those the author himself liked best, and he even rewrote some of them especially for this anthology. Ben Carlton Mead has contributed 32 original line drawings to illustrate the stories.
These tales spring from the soil and folklore of our land; but more than this, they make the readers contemporary with the times, filling us with the wonder of something past and yet still with us. They are arranged topically into sections whose titles speak for them: “The Longhorn Breed,” “Mustangs and Mustangers,” “The Saga of the Saddle,” “Characters and Happenings of Long Ago,” “Animals of the Wild,” “In Realms of Gold,” and “Ironies.”
“A veritable encyclopedia of factual and legendary lore of Western horses . . . wild and broken . . . a picture of the horses of the frontier that is matchless for detail, directness and vitality. Here is the inside story of the way of the Western man with the Western horse—a story made infinitely more varied and colorful by the fact that the horse was usually as rugged, as individual, as independent and as ornery as the man who rode him. Mustangs and Cow Horses gives you your best chance to know both.”—Dallas Morning News
Here are observations and speculations, legends and yarns, even gossip about the habits and dispositions of these extraordinary creatures—rattlesnakes—their reported size, deadliness, and power to charm their natural enemies. Here are descriptions of actual fights to the death between rattlesnakes and other animals and accounts of the strange experiences human beings have had with them, as well as tips on where to find them and how to act when you see one.
It is for good reason that J. Frank Dobie is known as the Southwest’s master storyteller. With his eye for color and detail, his ear for the rhythm of language and song, and his heart open to the simple truth of folk wisdom and ways, he movingly and unpretentiously spins the tales of our collective heritages. This he does in Tales of Old-Time Texas, a heartwarming array of twenty-eight stories filled with vivid characters, exciting historical episodes, and traditional themes. As Dobie himself says: “Any tale belongs to whoever can best tell it.” Here, then, is a collection of the best Texas tales—by the Texan who can best tell them.
Dobie’s recollections include such classics in Lone Star State lore as the tale of Jim Bowie’s knife, the legend of the Texas bluebonnet, the story of the Wild Woman of the Navidad, and the account of the headless horseman of the mustangs. Other stories in this outstanding collection regale us with odd and interesting characters and events: the stranger of Sabine Pass, the Apache secret of the Guadalupes, the planter who gambled away his bride, and the Robinhooding of Sam Bass. These stories, and many more, make Tales of Old-Time Texas a beloved classic certain to endure for generations.
The Ben Lilly Legend brings back to life a great American hunter—the greatest bear hunter in history after Davy Crockett, by his own account and also by the record. J. Frank Dobie met Lilly and was so struck by this extraordinary man that he collected everything he could find about him.
Lilly was born in Alabama in 1856, followed the bear and the panther westward through Mississippi and Louisiana to Texas, leaving a trail of stories about his prowess as a hunter and his goodness as a man. He was at one time “chief huntsman” to Teddy Roosevelt, hunted in Texas and Mexico, and came to be known as the master sign reader of the Rockies.
Here are all the stories Ben Lilly told and a great many more Frank Dobie heard about him, put together in a fresh and fascinating contribution to American folklore.
The Texas Longhorn made more history than any other breed of cattle the world has known. These wiry, intractable beasts were themselves pioneers in a harsh land, moving elementally with drought, grass, Arctic blizzards, and burning winds. Their story is the bedrock on which the history of the cow country of America is founded.
The product of over thirty years of research, this book will make you view the coyote on an entirely different plane. Dobie pens what he calls a “biography” of the coyote by tracing this mysterious and exciting animal throughout history and weaving together entertaining stories of fact, fiction, science and imagination. This collection of stories will not only make you laugh, but will introduce you to a fascinating but long-misunderstood animal.