Wranglers are Seldom Shown or Mentioned in Westerns. Did the Cowboys Take Turns at that or was it a Full-time Job during a Cattle Drive?

marshall trimble ask the marshall true west magazine

Wranglers are seldom shown or mentioned in Westerns. Did the cowboys take turns at that or was it a full-time job during a cattle drive?

Bill Calloway
Wilmington, Delaware

historic cattle drive in the west true west magazine
On the big Western cattle drives and ranches the range boss would assign the care of the horse herd to the youngest boys—the wranglers.
— All images Courtesy Library of Congress Unless otherwise noted —

Historically, the wrangler was the new guy with little experience who took care of the horse herd at the ranch, on roundups and on the trail. He was usually a youngster and had to work his way up.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book is Arizona Outlaws and Lawmen; The History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or email him at marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu.

What do you think?

Marshall Trimble

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and the Wild West History Association’s vice president. His latest book is 2018’s Arizona Oddities: A Land of Anomalies and Tamales. Send your question, with your city/state of residence, to marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu or Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327.