by Frank Goodwyn, Foreword by Bruce S. Cheeseman
“This is the story of me and my ranch friends, of the heritage that was ours, the way we worked, the tales we told, and the fun we had on America’s largest, most progressive cattle ranch,” says Frank Goodwyn. The creed of the King Ranch cattlemen was simple: “If you want to make a kid into a cowboy, start him out as soon as he can sit on a horse.” Being the son of the foreman on the Norias Division of the ranch, Goodwyn started working cattle every summer at an early age. Except for the bookkeeper and the bachelor boss Caesar Kleberg, the Goodwyns were usually the only Anglos present. Goodwyn thus spent most of his time with the Spanish-speaking ranch hands, and, he writes, “among them I learned the beginnings of all I know.” With photographs by Toni Frissell, Life on the King Ranch is replete with tales told by Goodwyn’s compadres such as cow camp foreman Euvence Garcia and Jose (“Joe One-Wing”) Cantu; fun and games in the prickly mazes of mesquite; and the real work of roping, branding, dipping, and just-plain working cattle. Goodwyn also tells of the founding by Captain Richard King of the legendary ranch and of the ways that the King Ranch was modernizing its operations while contending with the age-old elements of the semidesert South Texas plain.First published in 1951, the old-time cowboying and creative techniques, campfire cuisine, and memorable personalities of Life on the King Ranch make it a book of timeless interest.