Southern Alberta was, and still is, ranching country, with millions of acres of grasslands providing pasture for hungry cattle. Many ranches were established in the province beginning in the 1880s, and cowboys were hired to help take care of the cattle, horses, and other livestock.
They worked for large outfits such as the Bar U Ranch, the CC Ranch at Mosquito Creek, and the Bow River Horse Ranch. They branded animals in the spring and took part in huge fall round-ups. They lived in bunk-houses and tents, ate chuckwagon grub, were expert horsemen (some joined the rodeo circuit), and spent much of their lives in the saddle.
Bar U Ranch cowboys, general round-up, southern Alberta, May 31, 1901
Cowboy riding a bucking bronco on Billy Cochrane’s CC Ranch, Mosquito Creek, Alberta, 1901
Riders of southern Alberta round-up, 1901
Calgary Cowboys, Alberta, 1883
Branding at Brown Ranch, Queenstown, Alberta, 1900-03
Bar U Ranch group on round-up, Pekisko, Alberta, 1900-05
Last Bow River Ranche cattle round-up, near Cochrane, Alberta, 1905-06
Group at Medicine Hat, Alberta, 1885
Cowboy with horse and dog on top of Burgess Pass, British Columbia, 1914
‘Bachelor’s Hall’, interior view of a bunkhouse on a Southern Alberta ranch, 1894
Roping a heifer for spaying on ranch, Maple Creek area, Saskatchewan, 1897
Bruce and Jim Hunter in homestead shack, Dog Pound area, Alberta, 1897
Cowboys stretching a steer at round-up, Maple Creek area, Saskatchewan, 1897
Bar U Ranch cowboys, general round-up, southern Alberta, May 31, 1901.
via Glenbow Museum