JOBS ALONG THE TRAIL DRIVE
Title(s) Level of Experience Qualifications Duties Pay
(1890s)
Additional
Information
Trail Boss Very High Leadership

Competence

Cooperative

Cool-headed

Resolute

Quick thinker

Previous experience with trail drives
Responsibility for entire operation (cows, cowboys, cattle) while on trail.

Involved finding water, grass, and good trail for cattle.

Can track different animals across the range; knows the range well.

Keeps peace between cowboys.

Keeps horses and cowboys fed.

Handles money involved with placing orders for supplies and paying appropriate tolls.
$90/
month
 

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Title(s) Level of Experience Qualifications Duties Pay
(1890s)
Additional
Information
Point Man High

Most honored post on the drive. These cowboys would determine the direction of the drive.
Reliable

Ability to work in group with others toward a common goal
Works in groups of two and points the lead steers in the right direction

Sets the pace for the drive
$30-40/
month

 

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Title(s) Level of Experience Qualifications Duties Pay
(1890s)
Additional
Information
Swing Some experience required
Must know how to ride a horse

Previous experience with trail drives
Rides a third of the way back from the front of the herd as it is moving down the trail $30-40/
month


 

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Title(s) Level of Experience Qualifications Duties Pay
(1890s)
Additional
Information
Flank Some experience required
Must know how to ride a horse

Previous experience with trail drives
“Cuts in” cattle that have gotten out of the herd

Rides about two thirds of the way back from the front of the herd on the trail

Makes sure that cattle do not wander too far way from the main herd
$30-40/
month


 

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Title(s) Level of Experience Qualifications Duties Pay
(1890s)
Additional
Information
Drag Rider Usually an entry-level position
Willing to work hard and endure dust and dirt kicked up by the herd and riders ahead of them Rides at the back of the herd on the trail to make sure that beeves, cows, etc. stay with the herd

Must be able to “push” these slower cattle forward
$30-40/
month


 

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Title(s) Level of Experience Qualifications Duties Pay
(1890s)
Additional
Information
Horse Wrangler Entry-level position

Generally a young boy who wants to be a cowboy

Willing to learn and work hard Drives the remuda before the wagon and ahead of the cattle

Rounds the extra horses up and gets them into a rope corral several times during the day

Keeps the horses together and eating grass until it is time for cowboys to change mounts

Makes sure that those ridden hard are given proper food (corn and grass)

Keeps saddle horses from straying too far

Helps cook gather wood and harness the teams of horses
$25/
month


 

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Title(s) Level of Experience Qualifications Duties Pay
(1890s)
Additional
Information
Chuck Wagon Cook High

Former cowboy who is either too old for the more difficult work or has been hurt


Must know how to drive a wagon

Must be able to prepare meals with limited resources and serve them on time

Some experience and knowledge of medical techniques also necessary



Prepares three meals a day out of the back of a wagon

Not expected to assist with any cattle or other trail jobs

Cooks for the men on the trail

Moves wagon about two times a day, 10-15 miles each time

Awakens at 3:00 a.m. and has breakfast ready when the others are awakened

Wakens other cowboys

1880's trip:
“Breakfast: sourdough biscuits, white gravy, sowbelly, and black coffee; dinner: sowbellly, black coffee, sourdough biscuits, and white gravy; pickles, supper: black coffee, sowbelly, white gravy, and sourdough biscuits”

Sowbelly: salt pork

$60/
month


 

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