In his introduction to The American Cowboy, Bob Edgar speaks of a "far-sighted fraternity"-the photographers such as Belden, Huffman, Koerner, Smith, and Kendrick-who recorded images of cattle drives, frontier towns, roundup camps, cowboys on the range, chuck wagons, and horses and cattle. They probably knew that they were recording for posterity both a dramatic and emotive period in history and a changing country, in this case the cattlemen's frontier, which existed from the end of the Civil War to the early part of the twentieth century.
Through the work of a small number of photographers whose pictures have been selected from museums and state historical society collections, The American Cowboy puts together a stirring series of images that capture the movement of life on the range. That this way of life no longer exists lends additional poignancy. Now, as our frontier extends itself into a new millennium with disparate concerns, The American Cowboy offers an evocative message of "a dream and a forgetting, a chapter forever closed."