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I Saw Them Ride Away Paperback – September 22, 2009
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About the Author
Harry Arthur Gant was born in Iowa in 1881. His father owned a livery stable in Denver in the 1890s, and an uncle had a ranch near Fort Collins. Growing up with horses and spending summers at the ranch, he soon became a cowboy. By the early years of the Twentieth Century, being a cowboy in Colorado and Wyoming brought exposure to show business in the form of Wild West Shows, rodeos, and horse races. He was involved as a participant, especially steer-roping and horse-racing, and even organized some shows. When the early motion picture companies wanted to make movies with an American flavor, they sent film units to Colorado. In need of someone who could coordinate the local men, materials and animals, they naturally found Harry Gant to be indispensable. In 1912, he moved to California, and soon became a cameraman, actor and director. Though he had little respect for the kind of stories the writers passed off as "westerns", he kept his mouth shut (mostly) and learned the craft. In the 1920s, it became harder to find work. He turned a dormant interest in geology into a brief career as an oil wildcatter, and tried to interest investors in drilling on the now-famous Signal Hill. He was unable to get all the details arranged in time, and soon others were making millions where he wanted to drill. In 1922 he left California. He spent several years in Colorado, Wyoming, Arkansas, and even one winter in Chicago. Eventually, however, he returned to Hollywood, where he continued to work as cast and crew. In 1931, he established "an organization to perpetuate the spirit of days gone by" and arranged a "reunion of old time cowpunchers who worked on the open range in the Nineteenth Century." This organization came to be called the Chuck Wagon Trailers. He retired to his ranch in the San Fernando Valley in 1946, where he often hosted reunions of three generations of his descendents. In 1957 he began writing his memoir. He finished it in 1959, but had no success in getting it published. He died in 1967, aged 86. In 2009, his granddaughter and great-grandson published his memoir, adding photographs from his collection. The memoir describes in great detail the life sketched above. On our website, we have more information about Harry Gant's life, the many people he mentions, his entire collection of pictures, and the mystery of the "missing chapter" from his memoir. Learn more about Harry Gant at http://castleknob.com/authors/harry-arthur-gant