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Cowboy Talk

Mike Adkins’ following list of classic Old West terms comes from his teachers’ guide for the Oklahoma Historical Society education trunk entitled “The Long Drive.”

all hands and the cook: A cattle-range phrase meaning everybody--the whole outfit, including the ornery cook. Arbuckle: A generic term for coffee, from a trade-name brand common at that time. balling up: Referred to bunching up by cattle at a river crossing or entrance to a corral. bean-master: The cook. (also known as belly cheater, biscuit-shooter, grub spoiler, hasher) big loop: The loop of a cow-thief's lasso, said to be so big that, when thrown, it landed on other men's cattle. (also wide loop)

drag: The (often dusty) rear part of a driven herd of cattle, usually watched over by junior cowhands or those who were being punished.

fourflusher: A deceiver, a sham, a bluffer. full of prunes: Spirited hemp fever: Death by hanging. hoosegow: Used in the West to mean jail, though the original Spanish meant "courthouse.” moss back: An old longhorn, skilled at avoiding a rope (so old that moss grows on its back). night-hawk: The night guard for the horses of a trail-crew. prairie butter: The fat and juices left after cooking meat, which would then be spread on bread. prairie coal: Buffalo chips and later cow chips, used as fuel. (aka surface coal) remuda: The saddle horses of a ranch or a trail outfit. slick-heeled: Said of a man not wearing spurs. thirty and found: The going rate of pay for the old-timey cowboy...30 dollars a month plus board. wear the bustle wrong: Dry cowland humor for a lady's pregnancy.

The Oklahomans Vol 1

The above article is a bonus to the fascinating historical content found within our book

Oklahomans Vol 1 :


which can be purchased HERE.

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