What is meant by the cowboy way?

Just what is meant by “the cowboy way?” 

To answer that, requires a long hard look into cowboys and mannerisms. According to Editor Charles W. Harris, the cowboy has been called America’s hero. And it is also a known fact that you can always tell a cowboy…but you can’t tell them much! 

A cowboy is a common person with common thoughts, leading a common life. A cowboy is a breed tougher than nails and strong as steel. The frontier had no written law governing the conduct of the cowboy, so they developed their own laws of behavior that have become known as the “Code of the West.” 

These are not written into statutes but became widely adopted by the hardy souls that settled our western lands. Just as the cowboy is considered a common man, these unwritten laws bordered on common sense and decency. 

A few of the areas touched by these laws are things like honesty, loyalty, integrity, and being an excellent steward of the land and its animals. These traits bolster a serious respect for the land and mankind. 

To live up to the high rank of America’s Hero, a real cowboy must practice tolerance and understanding of others, being willing to stand-up for what is right, especially regarding women, children, and animals. 

Initiate hospitality, respect, and fair play. Take pride in your work and always do your best to do what has to be done and finish what you start. When you seal a deal with a handshake, you have just entered into a contract that you will see through to the end. 

When you make a promise, keep it. Another words, maintain a solid work ethic and ride for the brand. And never, ever quit! As is written in the words of a poem, “When things go wrong as they sometimes will, And the road you’re trudging seems all up hill, When care is pressing you down a bit, Rest if you must, but don’t you quit!” 

They say when a cowboy gets too old to set a bad example, he starts to hand out good advice. You see, the best sermons are lived, not preached and it’s said that both hats an’ cowboys require shaping, one by man, the other by God. So pardner, that is just what is meant by “the cowboy way!”



The sun popped up over the eastern horizon,

Finding us saddled and ready,

We’d already had chow an’ strong hot coffee,

The work that day would be steady.


They was the usual jawin’ an’ gripin,’

The day had broke hot an’ dry,

It would take us a spell to get to the work,

So, we would make the dust fly.


Today, we would gather cattle in the Creek Pasture,

About ten mile from the home place,

A country choked with Mesquite brush an’ Prickly Pear,

Them wild cows would give us a chase.



But we had brought along  ol’ Krushchef an’ Nipper,

They’d roust them cows from that brush,

‘Course we had miles to go an’ a creek to cross,

So, we paced ourselves, not in a rush.


Pap was the cow boss an’ planned for us to keep up,

An’ we’d shore best do our job,

We was just young’uns but was expected to work,

Some days, ‘twas rougher than a cob.


Well sir, Pap sent us to ride the outside circle,

Roustin’ critters towards the pen,

Dodgin’ Prickly Pear while Mesquite limbs slapped our face,

Them dogs just raisin’ a din.


Some of them rangy mossbacks tried to double back,

But the dogs were wise to their tricks,

Nippin’ at their heels, the dogs soon changed their minds,

An’ thus got in their licks.


I’m comin’ to help when my horse broke in half,

Wild eyed he took off in a run!

But I held his head up an’ soon he calmed down,

‘Twas hot in that swelterin’ sun,


We found my pardner, tryin’ to hold the line,

Shakin’ his ol’ fist at me,

“I had ‘em tight but you had to put on a show,

Then slapped his hat on his knee.


I’ve got ‘em calmed down, I reckon he’ll be steady now,

Just a bit green, but he’s okay,

He’s comin’ right along, doin’ fine I allow,

This horse will finish the day!


We circled back to fill in that gap where he’d got spooked,

He’d prove that he had the sand,

We finished the day without a bobble one,

Mister, he shore made a hand,


We held the line, though a rogue or two made their try,

The dust just boilin’ at the work,

Pap would do the tally while Jake drug them in,

Not everyone got this perk.



Buster had broke into a sweat holdin’ that calf,  

Which was shore tryin’ to break free,

But Bart notched his ear, while Slim came with the hot iron,

Burned on the Quarter Circle C.


We held ‘em an’ pushed ‘em in the heat an’ the dust,

‘Til we had worked every one,

Then we pushed ‘em to water an’ shade of the creek,

They pert near went on the run.


Time to head in, we was wore down to a nub,

Dreamin’ of coffee an’ chow,

It was a good day, tomorrow we do it again,

‘Cuz it shore beats follerin’ a plow!

© Ol’ Jim Cathey    


Join us at First Baptist Church Marlin: 9:30 Coffee, 9:45 Sunday School, 11 Worship

Wednesday: 5:30 Prayer Meeting, 6 Bible Study with “The Chosen Series”

God bless each of you and God Bless America!









The Rosebud News

251 Live Oak St
Marlin, TX 76661
Phone: (254) 883-2554
Fax:(254) 883-6553