In 1870, sixteen-year-old Frank Maynard left his home in Iowa and arrived in Towanda, Kansas, where he soon took a job helping to trail a small herd of cattle from Missouri to Colorado. Thus began his adventures as an open-range cowboy, a ten-year career that coincided with the peak of the great trail-drive era.
Among the highlights of MaynardÆs time on the range were brushes with outlaws and encounters with famous lawmen, such as Bill Tilghman and Bat and Ed Masterson (he was in Dodge City when Ed was shot). On one drive Maynard was set upon and chased by irate German homesteaders; on another he narrowly escaped being killed by a man known as Slusher while driving horses from Kansas to Texas.
But MaynardÆs most enduring contribution sprang from overhearing a version of an old Irish ballad in 1876 and reworking it as ôThe CowboyÆs Lament,ö the standard most recognize today as ôThe Streets of Laredo.ö His role in adapting the song and his other colorful experiences on the trail have come to light with the recent discovery of his unpublished memoir. Now, alongside the frontier recollections of Charlie Siringo and Charles Colchord, MaynardÆs personal account offers a rare and revealing glimpse of the true Old West.
ô[Jim Hoy] packs the house and gets great applause for his wonderful presentations on cowboys and cowboy music. His books are lively and compellingùwell researched but never boring history lessons.ö ùMichael Martin Murphey
"Nobody knows cowboys past or present better than Jim Hoy. In this volume he wrangles the memoir of Frank Maynard, a Kansas cowpuncher whose recollections of the range and trail during the heyday of the western cattle trade are as fresh and crisp as new saddle leather." ùB. Byron Price, director, Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of Art of the American West