14 3/4″ x 14″ x 9 3/4″
Limited Edition of 9 Bronze
This is one of the most interesting stories I have read and it really lends itself to sculpture. The title of the book is “Boss Cowman” by Ed Lemmon. He lived through the trail drive era and handled literally thousands of cattle during those years. We are very fortunate he wrote about the things he witnessed, including this story.
The rider’s name is Billy Carter. He was a good cowboy and had worked many a trail drive and roundup. He was in Rawlins, Wyoming, the summer of 1880. He was hanging around with a couple of guys that he had come to know a little. Suddenly, a mob of vigilantes swept into town and caught up Billy and his two friends and took them to the hanging tree outside of town. It seems that the Chinese laundryman had been killed by some sordid types. The mob thought it was Billy and his two friends. They tried to convince them otherwise but there was no stopping the mob. The two other men were hung and when it was Billy’s turn, the noose put around his neck. However, in the fuss, they didn’t tie his hands as tight as they should. Billy was fortunate as he was able to free his hands, took the noose off of his neck and ran through the crowd. Billy’s friends had opened a way out, one of them was hidden in the woods with a gun. He grabbed the gun and continued running!
Months later he rode into the cow camp. He and been on the run for a long while. Somehow he had acquired a horse that had U.S.I.C. branded on it’s left shoulder. The brand stands for United States Inspected and Condemned. There was a cowboy standing there and Billy called out to him “You don’t remember me do you?” It turned out they had grown up together. The cowboy told Billy to get down and come to work for them as they needed good cowboys. Billy was set up with a saddle and the things he needed for work. The next day, a calvary troop rode into the camp, and Billy took off like a shot, thinking they were after him. Turns out they were not. The next day a man was sent to find him and tell him it was safe to return. I found this to be an interesting connection between horse and rider. Both had been given a second chance at life. Calvary rejected horses had a very difficult future, if any, ahead of them.
I’ve chosen to place Billy and his horse on a ridge, looking at the soldiers coming into the camp. Billy’s hand is on his gun. His horse’s bridle is a Las Cruces spade bit with bridle reins. The saddle is a Meanea saddle built in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Billy has on woolly chaps, very popular during this period. To help tell the story, there is a hangman’s tree buried in the base. This horse and rider tell “Survivors Stories”.