James Bell


James Bell Armstrong


Ina Tascher



Download Audio Interview (155.7 MB)

Download Tape Counter Index of James Armstrong Interview (2.3 MB)


James “J. B.” Armstrong discusses how cowhands and cattle replaced the North American bison. He explains that work and pride allowed the young cowhand to keep doing a better job and that the nature of the work taught them lessons. Armstrong also discusses designing his own brand in 1906, and he describes the knowledge cowhands had of native plants and the weather. He recalls the cowhand diet in Texas consisting mainly of beef, sourdough biscuits, and beans, and he discusses cowhand attire. Armstrong recalls Easterners who tried to become cowhands as adults experienced difficulty because they hadn’t been raised in that way. He talks about present-day child rearing and offers parenting advice.

This audio has not been transcribed, but a tape counter index is available.


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Document Type

Oral History


Cowhands; Amarillo, Texas; Pioneering; Montana; Parenting advice; Cowhand diet; Cattle brands; Cowhand knowledge; Armstrong, James Bell, 1888-1971; Cowboys -- West (U.S.) – Interviews; Frontier and pioneer life -- West (U.S.) -- Personal narratives; Cowboys -- West (U.S.) – History; Cowboys -- Material culture – History; Cowboys -- Clothing -- West (U.S.); Cowboys -- Food -- West (U.S.)

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage




Original Collection

James Bell “J. B.” Armstrong Oral History Project, OH 034, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula

Digital Publisher

University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library


Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 / library.archives@umontana.edu

Oral History Number

OH 034-010

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

1 reel-to-reel: analog + 1 tape counter index (4 p.: 28 cm)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

02:05:01 minutes

Local Filename

OH_034_010.mp3; OH_034_010_TCI.pdf

James Bell