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Father and I Were Ranchers

(Little Britches #1)

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  9,855 ratings  ·  1,024 reviews
Ralph was eight years old in 1906 when his family moved from New Hampshire to a Colorado ranch. Through his eyes, the pleasures and perils of ranching in the early twentieth century are experienced... auctions and roundups, family picnics, irrigation wars, tornadoes and wind storms all give authentic color to Little Britches. So do wonderfully told adventures, which equip ...more
Paperback, 260 pages
Published 1991 by University of Nebraska Bison (first published 1950)
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Vaughn Ohlman Autobiographical, actually. I do believe the author took some liberties with the stories, though.

Community Reviews

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4.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,855 ratings  ·  1,024 reviews

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Jan 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
I finished Little Britches by Ralph Moody. I didn't want to read it because I thought it was a dumb title, and I don't like sad farming stories set in the Great Depression. I blame that on Steinbeck. I know it is so un public school taught of me, to not like Steinbeck but come on his stories are such downers. He is a good writer, but that doesn't mean I want to read his pathetic tales. The title makes more sense after reading the story, and it wasn't a downer story about the failings of capitali ...more
Scott Axsom
Dec 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
I am, to use my dear, late, cowboy grandfather’s lowliest epithet, a dude. I'm city-born and horse-shy, but I'm also descended from Colorado ranchers and horsemen dating back to 1870, so I'll be the first to admit that I have a serious soft spot for all things cowboy and all things Colorado - it’s just in my jeans, I guess. With that in mind, you'll probably want to take what follows with a block of salt:

Written in beautifully spartan prose, Little Britches is told through a series of (autobiogr
Set from 1906-1908 in Colorado, this follows Ralph for a couple of years. He's quite the young man with quite the father, but that's not what made the book for me. It was the wonderful look into the world of that time. Not much more than a century ago & there were only a few cars in the story. Most work was done by horses. No antibiotics, indoor plumbing, or so many of the things we take for granted today. It's a great look at a small farm, too.

There's a great set of morals running through t
Feb 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is first of a series of auto-biographies. I read the first one to see what all the fuss was about ("must-read classic") and plowed right through all of them. THey are:
Little Britches
Man of the Family
The Home Ranch
Mary Emma and Company
Fields of Home
Shaking the Nickel Bush
The Dry Divide
HOrse of a Different Color

I had a hard time getting through Fields of Home because of that tarnal fool of a Grandpa of his. I either wanted to knock him over the head, commit him to a group home or send them al
Jan 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In 1966 I was in the first grade, and suffering because my newly minted teacher did not believe in children who could read without having completed all the Phonics lessons in the workbook first. My reading tastes were catholic *in the sense of universal* and included National Geographic Magazines form the '20's and '30's, my Great grandfather's Oklahoma grade school textbooks, The Farmer Stockman, The Reader's Digest, any newspaper, cereal box, or other printed matter I could find, and a hand fu ...more
My favorite quotes from the book:

"Always remember, Son, the best boss is the one who bosses the least. Whether it's cattle, or horses, or men; the least government is the best government (80)."

"Son, there are times a man has to do things he doesn't like to, in order to protect his family (120)."

"There are only two kinds of men in this world: Honest men and dishonest men. ...Any man who says the world owes him a living is dishonest. The same God that made you and me made this earth. And He pla
Dec 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I checked this book out from the library.... I definitely need to acquire this one for myself. It's one I would read again many times, as well as read to my children. I LOVED it! I love the simplicity of how the story is told through the eyes of an 8-year-old boy, and how he's able to portray such a vivid picture with his memories. I love the relationship between Ralph and his parents, but particularly his father. I love his father's wisdom (there are many parts I would underline if I had my own ...more
Carol Bakker
I read this (~a chapter/week) aloud to three grandsons (ages 11, 7, 5) who are into horses and mini-farms. I've always considered this series a "Little House" for boys. {I believe both series work for both genders, but Laura appeals more to girls and Ralph more to boys.} The vocabulary and content were a stretch, especially for the younger boys. I paused often to explain words like "horseless carriage". Their interest flagged and flared.

As we finished today, I read through tears amidst a thick
Slotowngal California born
Feb 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anybody; especially good for reading aloud
This book is the first in a whole series of biographies about the Moody family, who went west around 1908 to become farmers in Colorado. The story of young Ralph Moody, his interactions with his parents, his lively descriptions of neighbors, cowboys and other characters all make his set of biographical novels a pleasure from start to finish. I read these first as a child, but have kept a copy of all 8 books nearby to re-read on a regular basis. Try them out.... they are worth the time.
Jan 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful story!! My husband read it to the kids in summer of '08 then I read it myself that fall. I cried at the end of the story and loved the family relationships displayed in the book. Especially between Ralph and his dad. GREAT!!
Anna Mussmann
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I first read Little Britches as a preteen. Reading it again as an adult and a parent is a completely different experience. It’s one of those memoirs that are treated as children’s literature because it happens to describe the author’s life between the ages of eight and eleven, but I’d classify it more as an adult book that happens to work as a read-aloud for the whole family.

Moody describes his family’s experience trying to earn a living on a ranch in Colorado in the early 1900’s. They emigrate
Jul 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Update 11/13 - Finished with kids. Still wonderful--if I can be as wise a parent as this father, my kids will be all right.

Wow! Great book - I read this the summer I graduated, along with every other book he wrote in this series that I could get my hands on (BYU's library didn't have them all, sadly). These books are autobiographical and describe a boy coming of age with his father at his side--a great book for anyone raising little boys! I loved the strong moral message of this book and the "wo
9/30/2016. I love this book more every time I read it. A true classic! Especially for parents of boys!

3/30/15 I think I enjoy this book more and more every time that I read it. I love the beauty and the simplicity of Ralph's relationship with Father. Ralph wasn't forced or coerced into things by his father. He was inspired by him and wanted to follow in his Father's footsteps. I love watching his transition from boy to young man. The love, the level of responsibility, and the respect he showed f
Rebekah W.
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the Boys' version of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books.
This is a brilliant antidote to the childish, fatherless culture that neither understands boys nor accommodates them.
There is some language, and there are a few bad choices, though I believe the appropriate consequences are always shown--there might be one exception.
A great choice for family read-alouds and dirt- and cowboy-loving boys everywhere.
Oct 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
This is what I call the "Little House on the Prairie" for boys. This is set in the same type of setting, rural farmland and a little boy and his family. I thouroughly enjoyed it. It showed his respect for his family and his love of horses. You can see how children at that time were forced into maturity at an earlier age. Life seemed more fragile, simple and gritty at that time.
Sep 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In some ways this is like the boys' version of Little House on the Prairie. But judging by its bestseller status, a lot of adults were reading it, too. Appeals to nostalgia, to a time when it seemed that life was simpler, people were closer to God and nature, neighbors knew each other. I'm so glad I didn't live back then.

Father 'teaches' the downright naughty Ralph lessons in being a man. He's a slow learner, but, "I always loved him more after he scolded me than I did at any other time." (Actua
What a wonderful story! Read this aloud to my son and daughter and we all three loved it. That last chapter...whew!
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Setting was super fun for me because I knew all the landmarks. Loved the coming of age story and relationship between Ralph and his father. Will be reading aloud to my son in the future.
Dec 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It's been called a "Little House on the Prairie" for boys, and it's got similar themes-hard-working but poor family moving west to start fresh and live off the land, lots of kids, parents imparting wisdom, kids learning some hard-learned lessons. But since it's a boy, the adventures are more...adventurous! Lots of wild horse-riding, sneaky escapades, and growing up. It's a wonderful tribute to the author's father, as throughout the whole book, you see how Ralph draws closer to ...more
Abigail Larsen
May 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"Son, there are times a man has to do things he doesn't like to, in order to protect his family."

In this autobiography that's anything but dry or textbook-ish, Ralph Moody begins the story of his childhood. His unique story-telling voice is authentic and appealing, drawing both young and old in. The emotions conveyed throughout these pages are compelling--surprisingly so since it's told from a young boy's perspective.

The account begins in 1906, and Ralph's family has just moved from the East Coa
Mar 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing

What a fantastic book. Definitely one of the best reads our family has read together!

Ralph's family moves out west to Colorado on the advice of Cousin Phil to help Father's health. The family works together to learn and grow at ranching - the great independent American Dream.

Ralph learns lessons in character, honesty, and manhood from his father along the way.

It took both of us to get through the final, heart-wrenching chapter. This book ought to be read aloud to edit for coarse language.
Five years ago I read this for a book club and couldn't wait to introduce it to my family. We just finished listening to it on Audible read by Cameron Beierle. Mr. Beierle was outstanding and I felt that he brought the characters to life in a way that I could not. My 4 and 5 year olds listened as well, although I did have to explain what cursing was and why we don't do it. I was prepared for that though. My 8 year old son has asked incessantly to begin it again.
Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-clint
A friend just mentioned this series of books and I remembered reading them a while back 1-8 in quick succession. If you like coming of age books this series of deceptively simple looking books written by Ralph Moody who moved as a young boy from New Hampshire to a Colorado ranch and describe the pleasures and perils he and his family encounter in the early twentieth century are delightful. In the spirit of Cold Sassy Tree , an old classic favorite. 5 stars books 1-8
Feb 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
We LOVE this book; this was our third time through. This time, we are continuing on with the rest of the series.

I noted lessons on character, thrift, education, self-sufficiency, honor, work, pride, charity, ingenuity, government and relationships.

I envy the environment that produces 11 year old boys to have the skills that enable him to run a farm. It is inspirational.
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
I saw this referenced as a "Little House on the Prairie" for boys, and was eager to read it. In this memoir, which takes place in the early 1900s, Ralph (a.k.a. Little Britches) learns what it means to be a good man in the wilds of Colorado with the help of his wise and wonderful Pa.
Angie Libert
Sep 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-alouds
I first read this book in September 2012 and I only gave it 3 stars. This time reading aloud to my children, I am giving it a full 5 stars! What an excellent read aloud book! Ralph Moody is a complete inspiration to us all!
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
What I am loving the most about this book is the wisdom of Father, as he teaches his son by counsel, precept and example.

Still loving this book half way through. It is an excellent pick me up to read during illness and convalescence. I would love to read all the books in the series.
May 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
You go and read it.
Nov 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First reading: March 2014
Second reading: 2015
Third reading: July 2016

I actually think it gets better on every reading.
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Ralph Moody was an American author who wrote 17 novels and autobiographies about the American West. He was born in East Rochester, New Hampshire, in 1898 but moved to Colorado with his family when he was eight in the hopes that a dry climate would improve his father Charles's tuberculosis. Moody detailed his experiences in Colorado in the first book of the Little Britches series, Father and I Were ...more

Other books in the series

Little Britches (8 books)
  • Man of the Family (Little Britches, #2)
  • The Home Ranch (Little Britches, #3)
  • Mary Emma & Company (Little Britches, #4)
  • The Fields of Home (Little Britches, #5)
  • Shaking the Nickel Bush (Little Britches, #6)
  • The Dry Divide (Little Britches, #7)
  • Horse of a Different Color: Reminiscences of a Kansas Drover (Little Britches, #8)
“A man's character is like his house. If he tears boards off his house and burns them to keep himself warm and comfortable, his house soon becomes a ruin. If he tells lies to be able to do the things he shouldn't do but wants to, his character will soon become a ruin. A man with a ruined character is a shame on the face of the earth.” 41 likes
“You know, Son, sometimes a fellow has to take a licking for doing the right thing. A licking only lasts a short while, even if it's a hard one, but failing to do the right thing will often make a mark on a man that will last forever.” 11 likes
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