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We Pointed Them North: Recollections of a Cowpuncher Paperback – November 15, 1976


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press; 15th printing edition (November 15, 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806113669
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806113661
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Edward Charles Abbott "Teddy Blue" was born in the County of Norfolk, England, in 1860. He was brought to the United States as a baby by his parents, who eventually settled near Lincoln, Nebraska, which was full of Texas cattle and Texas cowpunchers in the 1870'S, and there he first joined the trail drives.


Helena Huntington Smith, who recorded Teddy Blue's reminiscences so skillfully, is a free-lance writer. Her special interest in Western Americana is reflected by the many articles on Western subjects she has written for The Saturday Evening Post, Reader's Digest, and other magazines.

Customer Reviews

I liked his tales of cowboy life.
Fairlee E. Winfield
This book is an authentic account of cowboy life in the 1870's and of moving cattle from Texas north to Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana.
perryjaris
Wonderful recollections of a Cowpuncher in his words.
Aron Krantz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Scheer on October 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is an as-told-to memoir of the early years of a cowboy who grew up in Nebraska and drove cattle along the western trails, settling in Montana, where he worked for several cattle owners, all during the 1870s and 1880s. His story covers that brief period of time when the West was open range, before settlers began putting up fences. It's a story told in the 1930s by an old man to a woman from the East, Helena Huntington Smith, who had the presence of mind to capture his life in the printed word before his generation had passed completely (Abbott died in 1939).
Teddy Blue, as he was called, was something of a rip-tearer in his youth, living up to the wilder stereotype of rangeland cowboys, by his own account. On the one hand, there is the fierce recklessness of herding cattle, which through accident and various mishaps took the lives of many young men. And then there is his life in town, befriending prostitutes, drinking hard, shooting up saloons, and on occasion riding his horse indoors.
His favorite job is working as a "rep" for cattle-owners, going to the regular roundups where cattle were sorted and branded, requiring him to retain a vast knowledge of brands used on the range and other markings. For a while, he works for stockman Granville Stuart, who headed up a vigilante effort that significantly reduced the number of active cattle rustlers in Montana. Stuart eventually becomes Abbott's reluctant father-in-law, after the young penniless cowboy takes a shine to one of his daughters.
The book rambles back and forth in time as Abbott more or less free-associates for Smith.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
Helena Huntington Smith took down Mr. Abbott's stories, organized them, added useful footnotes, and succeeded in her part "to keep out of the way and not mess it up by being literary." I have read a few other fine stories told by western men and women. None were better than these. If you are interested in the history of the west from one white man's perspective, this is an excellent place to find it. In several stories he mourns the destruction of the societies that were in the west before the european invasion. While he is clearly a child of his time, he is remarkably senistive (for his day). Altogether a fine book. I recommend it highly.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Joan P. Vaughan on August 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
Americans have been fascinated with our early "wild west" history and much has been written about it in books, movies and TV series. I think most of us realize that most of that "history" has been fictionalized in the interest of entertainment. I find it enlightening to read honest, unvarnished and first hand accounts of that early west and discover just what hardships were endured by the hardy folks who lived back then. This book pulls no punches with glorification, and includes the "down and dirty" events and roughness back then. But you surely put the book down at the end with an appreciation of the endurance, patience, humor, honesty and "make do" attitude of these early cowboys, cattle men and settlers. The book tells of actual associations with some familiar, historical characters, which is more entertaining than fiction for the reality of it. I would recommend this book to anyone who appreciates reading genuine, first hand "out west" history (and those who love a good yarn while doing it).
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By L. Stansbury on February 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
A fun collection of memories of growing up on the range back when cowpunchers roamed. This book reads just like 'Teddy Blue' speaks- imagine what 'ole' grandpa's stories told on a front porch or around a campfire sound like and you have this book. Watch out though- do not take the book as fact. Having read this book and then conducting further research I discovered inaccuracies and holes in the story. One of my favorite stories includes 'Calamity Jane' while the the story may be true the date is not unless 'Calamity Jane' was a walking zombie as she'd been dead for over a year or two at the time 'Teddy Blue' claims to have conversed with her.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bill Staley on March 12, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I very much enjoyed this book. A very conversational style. The parts about Billy the Kid (a small portion of the book) seem a little out of place and forced, because they are not first person accounts, like the rest of the book. Those parts are interesting, just not as engaging as his first-person accounts. I enjoyed that he tells the reader that his motivation in writing is to make a few bucks!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Barney Considine on November 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is another of the several books now available that describes the Texas trail herds and Eastern Montana cattle industry from a cowboy's perspective. Many people consider this the seminal book of the genre. My copy was published in 1939, the year I was born; however, it has been republished several times and is currently available.

My father knew Teddy Blue and I grew up around a mix of cowboys raised in Texas and the northern states. This book is an authentic view of the cowboy's life. Like Teddy Blue, many started out at a young age as an adventure-seeking, rather wild kid. Hard work that wasn't always fun molded them into skilled hands in handling cattle. Teddy Blue finally married, took a homestead, and became one of the settlers whom he used to detest for running livestock and farming on fenced land. That was typical of those Texas cowboys that came to Montana or Wyoming and didn't run back south with the first snowflakes.

This is the true story of trailing livestock from Texas to Montana and raising cattle on the open range. It has stampedes, blizzards, settlers, Indians, prostitutes, outlaws, and vigilantes. It is a story of love, courtship, and marriage. It relates the maturing of Montana from no government or law to established statehood and communities.

E.C. Abbott earned the nickname "Teddy Blue" during one of his more boisterous minutes in Miles City, Montana. Admittedly, it is a misnomer to call Mr. Abbott a Texan since his family moved to Nebraska from England when Teddy Blue was eleven and he fully adopted Montana as the state where he lived out his life. However, he, like the other cowboys who "came up the trail," refers to himself as a Texas cowboy.

This book is very readable. We are indebted to Helena Huntington Smith for recording Teddy Blue's memories, as well as her other writings such as "A Bride Goes West." Those two books are an anchor for the history of the "old west."
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