In the 1880s, days of the open range, many a roundup outfit worked
this country. The spring roundup gathered the cattle in order to
brand and tally the calf crop. The fall roundup gathered beef
critters for shipping.
An outfit consisted of the captain, the riders, the "reps" from
neighboring ranges, the cavvy or horse herd in charge of the day
herder and night hawk, the four horse chuck wagon piloted by the
cook and the bed wagon driven by his flunky. Camp moved each
The cowboys rode circle in the morning, combing the breaks and
coulees for cattle and heading them toward the central point to
form a herd. In the afternoons of spring roundup the guards kept
the herd together, the cutters split out the cows with calves, the
ropers dabbed their loops on the calves, took a couple of dally
welts around the saddle horn and dragged 'em to the fire. There the
calf wrestlers flanked and flopped them, and the brander decorated
them with ear notches, or dew laps, and a hot iron. It wasn't all
sunshine and roses.
Marker Erected by Montana Department of
The Hi-Line and the Yellowstone Trail: To Glacier Park and Back Again.
1 Sept. 2004.
21 Mar. 2023
<http://lacusveris.com/The Hi-Line and the Yellowstone Trail/The Wide Missouri/Marker: Cowboy Argot 2004-08-04 11.24.48.shtml>.
Last modified 6 Oct. 2015.
Served 5600 times between 16 May. 2010 and 21 Mar. 2023.