Joe Hughes Interview, January 21, 1981


Joe Hughes


Jo Rainbolt



Download Audio Interview (74.5 MB)

Download Transcript of Joe Hughes Interview (398 KB)


Joe Hughes describes cowboying during the 1910s in Eastern Montana, including working on ranches such as the Horseshoe Bar and the Antlers Ranch, which was owned by a German immigrant named Heinrich who leased land on the Crow Reservation for his cattle. Hughes discusses how he broke his neck and several other bones, breaking broncs, noting that he just kept on working and didn’t know his neck was broken until many years later. Hughes talks about reading and writing poetry at an early age, and notes that most cowboys were skeptical of anyone who appeared educated or interested in books, assuming this meant they couldn’t work cattle or ride a horse. He recites several poems about cowboy life, and tells stories about cowboying, including trailing cattle to town so they could be loaded on train cars and shipped. He recalls what cowboys typically wore to combat the cold weather including silk handkerchiefs that could be pulled over their face and ears, wool chaps, and wool underwear.


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Document Type

Oral History


Cowboys, Montana; Ranch life, Montana; Crow Reservation; Mark Real Bird; Eastern Montana; PN Ranch, Montana; Horseshoe Bar Ranch, Montana; Antlers Ranch, Montana; Cowboy poetry; Robert W. Service; Shooting of Dan McGrew; Broncos; Breaking horses

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage




Original Collection

Montana Settlers and Homesteaders Oral History Project, OH 052, 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 /

Oral History Number

OH 052-005

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

1 sound cassette (01:00:00 min.) analog + 1 transcript (23 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

01:01:37 minutes

Local Filename

OH_052_005.mp3; OH_052_005.pdf

Joe Hughes Interview, January 21, 1981