The Wrangler

The wrangler was usually a young boy who worked as an apprentice to learn the ways of a cowhand. His primary responsibility was to care for the remuda (herd of horses). In the morning he rose before the men to round up all the horses that might have wandered away in the night. He had to keep them together until they could be roped for the men to ride. One of the most popular cowboy songs of all time, “Little Joe, the Wrangler,” written by Jack Thorp in 1898, told the story of a youngster who worked hard at a “man’s job” and died tragically when the herd stampeded during a storm.

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Erwin E. Smith (1886–1947)
Little Joe the Wrangler, Three Blocks Ranch, New Mexico, 1908–09
Gelatin dry plate negative
Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
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