Documentary on Wyoming cowboys July 9
Wyoming Premiere of feature-length documentary filmed in part on the Little Jenny and Campbell ranches near Bondurant
by J&S Productions
June 29, 2008
If you think Buckaroos and Texas Punchers are mutually exclusive, you’re in for a surprise.
Houlihan, a new documentary by Susan Jensen & Paul Singer, provides an insight into how the blending of these two cultures in Montana and Wyoming produced the Northern Range Cowboy.
In the 1800s, Buckaroos from Oregon and Nevada, (offshoots of the California Vaqueros) were filling Montana and Wyoming’s open ranges with Great Basin cattle. Around the same time, Texas Punchers were moving longhorns up the Goodnight Loving Trail. Both were in pursuit of the same thing — good grass to nourish their vast herds.
Cowboying styles are a product of environment, which on the Northern Range, can be pretty rough. Winter, with its deep snow and sub-zero temperatures lasts for seven months. And the good grass, which produces fat, sassy cattle also produces big, stout, rank, horses. These critters can be pretty humpy in the morning and anyone who has cowboyed in these parts knows that a bronc ride after breakfast is nothing out of the ordinary.
Houlihan is filmed on some of Wyoming’s most beautiful spreads, including two in nearby Bondurant. On the Campbell Ranch, filmmakers capture rancher Kevin Campbell in January’s 20º below weather, as he feeds his cattle by horse and sleigh. In the spring, on the neighboring Little Jenny Ranch, Gerry Endecott and his crew move cattle to the rich grass in the high mountain meadows.
The film demonstrates how different cowboying styles work together at the 400,000-acre
Padlock Ranch, spanning Montana and Wyoming. The Padlock employs an eclectic mix of cowboys from all over the west. And while the Padlock spans two states, the Hoodoo Ranch of Cody, Wyoming spans the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries. This outfit is so big, that to keep track of their cattle, they do it both by horseback and plane — and the cowboss doubles as cowboy and pilot!
The Arapahoe Ranch, owned by the tribe of the same name, is another 400,000-acre spread, near Thermopolis, Wyoming. This ranch is split between two different cowboy cultures. On the southern half, they do things Texas style. The northern half is all Buckaroo — flat hats, chinks, bridle horses with silver bits and romal reins.
Cowboss Martin Anseth, of Montana’s CH Ranch sports a feather in his hat and it’s more than just decoration. This ranch is located on the Crow Reservation and members of the Crow Tribe help Martin out during branding time. The feather is a gift from one of them, won at the Crow “Hand Games”.
But Houlihan, while it takes you to wide open ranch country, also takes you to town – to the famous Miles City Saddlery, where owner Jack Deibel has a collection of 80 historic saddles.
And to Sheridan, Wyoming, home of King’s Saddlery, for an interview with the late, great
saddlemaker Don King. You’ll also meet some of the younger gear makers, like bit & spur maker Todd Hansen and master rawhide braider Nate Wald.
This film is rich with history, but the story is told through the cowboys and families living the life today. Integral to the cowboy soul is music and some of the finest rangeland singers and musicians underscore this fast paced, entertaining documentary. Star Valley’s Dawn Davis provides the beautiful classical piano introduction to the film. And cowboys’ cowboy singer Ian Tyson, Padlock hand Jesse Ballantyne, Montana-bred Dave Stamey, Wylie & the Wild West, and Wyoming’s Kevin McNiven underscore the scenes and stories.
Houlihan was filmed in Montana and Wyoming over the past two years. This documentary is Number Four in J&S Productions’ Vaquero Series and it’s cowboy to the core.
Enjoy a buffet dinner at the Camp Creek Inn on Wednesday, July 9th, and be enthralled by this lively account of the real working cowboys of today. Reservations are required. Call Camp Creek Inn 307-732-2222. Dinner & movie is $16. To reserve you place, call Camp Creek Inn at 307-732-2222. Filmmakers will be on hand for questions and DVD signing. DVDs will be sold at the event.
If you can’t make the premiere you can meet the filmmakers and get a signed DVD at the Cowboy Shop in Pinedale on Wednesday 10 am to noon.
For more information about Houlihan and the Vaquero Series go to www.tapadero.com or call Susan Jensen 805-695-0164.