Harry J. Rutter reminiscence, 1931. Small Collection 35. Montana
Historical Society Research Center. Archives. Excerpted in Not In
Precious Metals Alone: A Manuscript History of Montana (Helena,
Context for H. J. Rutter's reminiscence:
As ranges to the south and west filled and were depleted, massive trail
herds began interesting Montana's grasslands. The life of a cowboy on
these cattle drives was anything but uneventful. From 1866 to the late
1880s, hundreds of cowpunchers signed on for the long drives from Texas
to Montana, and some of them stayed. H. J. Rutter, later a Hinsdale
rancher, joined one of these last drives as a "cocky youth." Indians,
rustlers, lightning storms, and mad dashes to turn the herds were only a
few of the trail crew's problems. Yet some of the longest hours were
spent on more tedious duties. Long stretches in the saddle, sleepless
nights, and a monotonous diet were the norm.
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Written Document Analysis Worksheet.
About Primary Sources:
Letters, diary entries, census records, newspapers, and photographs
are all examples of "primary sources," material created at a
particular moment in the past that has survived into the present.
Primary sources can provide clues to the past. They are our windows
into an earlier time. The Montana Historical Society contains
thousands of primary sources. In the 1970s, archivists collected just
a few snippets into a book, which they called
Not in Precious Metals Alone: A Manuscript History of Montana.
That book is now on the web in its entirety. The above sample from that
book relates directly to this chapter.
The nighthawk in his nest, photo by L. A. Huffman,
Montana Historical Society Photo Archives 981-568
Charles M. Russell in studio painting The Lewis and
Clark Expedition, 1918, Montana Historical Society Photo Archives