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The Day the Cowboys Quit

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  474 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
"The Day the Cowboys Quit was inspired by an historic event, a strike against large ranches on the Texas high plains, when the encroachment of an Eastern corporate mentality drove freedom-loving cowboys to drastic measures—no matter the cost." --Elmer Kelton

In later years people often asked Hugh Hitchcock about the Canadian River cowboy strike of 1883.

Wagon boss Hugh Hitch
Paperback, 288 pages
Published February 5th 2008 by Forge Books (first published 1971)
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Alyx Tschirhart
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elmer Kelton. Enough said?
Another great one from Kelton. In my humble opinion, I feel like most of his reads make you think. Weigh your options of what you would have done in this situation, what side you would have been on, which character you would have been most like and so on. I found myself feeling uncomfortable throughout the novel, not because of the writing, but because the story and characters were painted so vividly, I felt as if I were in the scene having to choose.

I will always recom
Sep 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd like to say this book was all cowboy, it sure felt that way as I was listening to it. It's all about the big ranchers versus the little ranchers, and the old-style way of ranching moving over for the new ways. But there is so much more to it about human character, from good to bad. I loved one critical point of the story where the "hero", after being robbed and almost killed by the "big guys" has an opportunity to get back. After taking the first dishonest step, he stops. He thinks about his ...more
HornFan2 (Mike)
Elmer Kelton's a legend in the Western genre, with 'The Day the Cowboys Quit' he takes the reader on a trail drive (If you will), one were his words either flow fast, then they slow down and just like the cattle on a trail drive.

One of my favorite parts of the Western genre are the books about Cowboys. That's why I loved Elmer Kelton books, could he every bring Cowboys too life, make them so real, didn't matter if they worked for big or little ranches or struggling to build their own spreads.

Sep 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's the rare western book that invites a Marxian analysis, but Elmer Kelton, who died recently, was the rare western writer.

"The Day the Cowboys Quit," takes place at the intersection of rugged American individualism and the collective efforts of the undercapitalized to improve their lot.

The book renders a cowboys' strike - a fascinating concept - that actually happened, on ranches in the Canadian River region of west Texas circa 1883.

By Kelton's lights, the strike occurred in the crucible o
Jackson Burnett
Jun 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: western
"The Day the Cowboys Quit" tells the story of a group of Texas cattle hands going on strike against the big ranchers in the late 1800's. It's based on a real event. Kelton is a subtle storyteller and this is one Western where you really aren't sure what is going to happen. The book would have gotten five stars, but it slowed too much in the middle. It's a good book for those who enjoy Westerns but are tired of the guy in the white hat just fighting the guys in the black hats.
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kelton's novel has some of the ingredients of pulp western fiction - big ranchers against the little guys, justice at the end of a rope, an honorable hero wearing a sheriff's badge - but he brings a great deal of insight, experience, and historical background to the task of telling this story. It is enjoyable and full of well-drawn characters and unexpected turns of plot from beginning (a squabble over the brand on a cow) to the end (a gripping courtroom drama).

The title suggests that the book m
Aug 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Audio version- I have been a fan of Loius L'Amour westerns since high school. But somehow Elmer Kelton slipped my attention. This novel had a very memorable main character who experiences significant personal challenges and redeems himself through making good choices. The economic and societal themes are apparent and it is interesting how the author uses a western setting to explore these. This is only the second novel by this author which I have read, it surely won't be my last.
Nov 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Texas, 1883. The big ranchers decide they don't want any cowboys owning cattle, and the cowboys protest by going on strike. It doesn't come out quite like any of them expect. Our hero, Hugh Hitchcock, is one of the strikers, but he's not very happy about it. Hitch is a great character, and watching him change is a big part of what makes this book a very enjoyable read.
Wilson Lanue
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Based on the true story of the Panhandle cowboy strike of 1883.

It is primarily a psychological study of the forces involved: The blue-collar code of loyalty versus the requirement for personal freedom. As such, it is slightly repetitive, perhaps a bit dry at times as well. But very good, and an excellent depiction of the Texas mindset at one point in time.
Dee Mills
Dec 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read many of Kelton's books, particularly the series about the Texas Rangers. I like the way he tells a simple story and gets to the heart of it. I feel like I've learned a lot about cow punching in this book, and about integrity and loyalty. It's a good yarn, well-written and a fast read.
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Elmer Kelton (1926-2009) was award-winning author of more than forty novels, including The Time It Never Rained, Other Men’s Horses, Texas Standoff and Hard Trail to Follow. He grew up on a ranch near Crane, Texas, and earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas. His first novel, Hot Iron, was published in 1956. Among his awards have been seven Spurs from Western Writers of America and ...more
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