Legends of Our Times
288 pages, 8 1/2 x 11
160 illustrations, 80 in colour
Release Date:01 Feb 2000
Release Date:20 May 1998
Release Date:01 Oct 2007

Legends of Our Times

Native Cowboy Life

UBC Press

Throughout the world, the cowboy is an instantly recognized symbol of the North American West. Legends of Our Times breaks the stereotype of “cowboys and Indians” to show an almost unknown side of the West. It tells the story of some of the first cowboys – Native peoples of the northern Plains and Plateau.

Through stories, poetry, art, and reminiscences in this lavishly illustrated work, Native people invite the reader on a fascinating journey into the world of ranching and rodeo. The book also presents the special relationship between Native people and animals such as the horse, buffalo, deer, and dog, which have always played an important role in Native spiritual and economic life.

By the mid-nineteenth century, Native people were highly valued for their skills in horse breeding and herding, and could take advantage of new economic opportunities in the emerging ranching industry. Faced with limited resources, competition for land, and control by governments and Indian agents, many Native people still managed to develop their own herds or to find work as cowboys.

As the ways of the Old West changed, new forms of entertainment and sport evolved. Impresarios such as Buffalo Bill Cody invented the Wild West show, employing Native actors and stunt performers to dramatize scenes from the history of the West and to demonstrate the friendly competitions that cowboys enjoyed at the end of a long round-up or cattle drive. The popularity of rodeos also grew within Native communities, and arenas were built on many reserves. Native rodeos are still held, while many Native competitors ride in professional rodeos as well.

Today, Plains and Plateau peoples proudly continue a long tradition of cowboying. Legends of Our Times is a celebration of their rich contribution to ranching and rodeo life.


  • 1998, Winner - Alcuin Citation for excellence in book design in Canada, Alcuin Society
A well-researched and comprehensive history of the connection between aboriginal people and cowboy culture ... striking images throughout the book ... a stunning volume sure to shatter the idea that one is either a cowboy or an Indian. Canadian Geographic
This is a wonderful book, and I can’t wait to view the exhibit upon which it is based. Once the buffalo disappear, so too does the native horseman. Thus, this fascinating book on Canadian native cowboys yesterday and today makes an important, much-needed contribution ... I am reluctant to find fault with such an expansive, impressive project. We can only hope that other major museums will take this imposing book and exhibition as a model and produce similar materials for other native cultures of the Americas. Richard W. Slatta, Pacific Historical Review
A visual joy ... This book richly deserves a large audience north and south of the border. Roderick J. Barman, B.C. Studies
Morgan Baillargeon is a Metis from Southwestern Ontario and is currently Curator of Plains Ethnology at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Leslie Tepper is Curator of Plains Ethnology at the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the author of several publications.


Native Cowboy Life

Sacred Beings

The First Horses / Collected by Eleanor Brass

Painted Pony / Garry Gottfriedson

Âyahkwêw's Lodge / Gregory Scofield

Buffalo Woman Leads the Buffalo out of the Earth / Collected by Mari Sandoz

Coyote and Buffalo / Herb Manuel

The End of the World: The Buffalo Go / Old Lady Horse (Spear Woman)

The Deer / Collected by James A. Teit

Coyote and Wood Tick / Collected by James A. Teit

Coyote / Collected by James A. Teit

The Dog Chief / Collected by Clark Wissler and D.C. Duvall

Man's Best Friend / David Pratt

Ranching Life

The Lonely Cowboy / Tim Ryan Rouillier

Allen Sapp / Bob Boyer

Tried, True, and Tested / Alex Harvey and Tim Ryan Rouillier

At Wood Mountain We Are Still Lakota / Leonard Lethbridge, Thelma Poirier and Harold Thomson

Women and the Ranching Life / Clara Spotted Elk

Rodeo and Other Entertainment

The Gambler's Son and Star Man / Collected by James A. Teit

Bronco Busters, Basket Makers, and a Brass Band / Leslie Tepper

The Menace of the Wild West Show / Chauncey Yellow Robe

Remembering Heroes / David Pratt

He's an Indian Cowboy in the Rodeo / Buffy Sainte-Marie

on the champ of '63 / Garry Gottfriedson

Indian Rodeo Cowboys of the Dakotas / Phil Baird

Down the Road ...




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