James Bell


James Bell Armstrong


Ina Tascher



Download Audio Interview (167.9 MB)

Download Tape Counter Index of James Armstrong Interview (4.2 MB)


James “J. B.” Armstrong discusses the rise of sheep farming and the decline of the cattle ranching industry. He talks about the influx of sheep farmers in the early 20th century from California, Oregon, and Nevada to the Little Missouri River and Powder River areas. Armstrong discusses the conflicts that arose between sheep and cattle ranchers, which often resulted in violence. He describes the freight business where he worked in in 1908. Armstrong talks at length about a horse-riding contest and broncobusters who entered it. He also discusses the lifestyle of a cowboy and the clothing and gear they used. He recalls the evolution from free ranging cattle to establishing fenced operations to grow cattle feed. He talks about the winter of 1919. Armstrong discusses getting married and building a home on Plum Creek, South Dakota. He talks about other jobs he held as a trucker in South Dakota and surrounding areas.

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


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Document Type

Oral History


Cowhands; Cattle ranchers; Range conflicts; Free range; Little Missouri River; Powder River; Pioneering; Montana; Plum Creek, South Dakota; Armstrong, James Bell, 1888-1971; Cowboys -- West (U.S.) – Interviews; Frontier and pioneer life -- Montana -- 20th century; Frontier and pioneer life -- South Dakota -- 20th century; Sheep farming -- Montana -- History -- 20th century; Sheep ranchers -- Violence against -- Montana -- History -- 20th century; Bronc riding; Cowboys – Competitions; Truck drivers -- South Dakota -- 20th century

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 034-002

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

1 reel-to-reel: analog + 1 tape counter index (6 p.: 28 cm)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

02:08:41 minutes

Local Filename

OH_034_002.mp3; OH_034_002_TCI.pdf

James Bell