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A Cowboy's Journal

Student Model Print

Eighth grader Shelley imagines she is a cowboy in the old West as she writes this journal entry. She includes historical details that add a realistic touch to the writing.

A Cowboy's Journal

I am so upset at myself. I don’t know where my head was. Finally, here I was, with $80 to my name (which is meager compensation for a two-month cattle drive), and then I lose it all gambling. Just one night, and now I am bankrupt all over again. Yesterday was my 22nd birthday, as well as my payday, so I allowed myself a little gambling in Abilene, Kansas, a cow town. But I got so caught up in the action that I couldn’t stop, and pretty soon, I was broke.

I had been hoping to save enough money to start my own business, Bronco Jones and Company, but I suppose that will just have to wait for the next cattle drive. Hopefully, by then I will have better sense.

But enough talk about that. I shall write about the cattle drive, in case I ever look back in this journal 20 years from now and wonder what it was like. Cowhands have very tough jobs, not to mention boring at times. I am a swing rider, and I help keep the cattle from straying. There are several other cowhands and, of course, a point rider and a cook. Lucky for us, we now have a talented cook who can turn anything into a delicious meal. We've had much worse cooks in the past.

One little piece of excitement that sticks out in my mind is the day a single gunshot started a cattle stampede. I didn’t even have time to wonder where it came from, for in a split second, the longhorns had already taken off at an alarming run. It was all chaos for some time. Finally we managed to slow down the stampeding herd by turning them in a wide circle. That memory shall certainly amuse me for some years to come, and I do need some fun, for tomorrow I am returning to Texas for yet another cattle drive. I hope it's my last.

—Bronco Jones

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