Nineteen Men at a Corral at Calf Branding Time,1891
October 13, 2021
How many men does it take to brand calves? And how many of those men are standing around shooting the bull while a handful does the real work? The more things change, the more they stay the same.
This wonderful photo, taken in 1891, shows nineteen cowhands standing in or around the corral. Though the photograph was contributed to the Montana Memory Project by the Billings Public Library, we don't know exactly where it was taken or by whom, though we can assume that it is somewhere in eastern Montana. The men seem to have posed for the picture since most of them are still and some are looking into the camera. One of the hands, however, couldn't wait. He shows up on the picture as a blur of motion. I guess cowboys are just dern restless, always moseying on to the next challenge.
Be sure to zoom in on the picture to inspect all of the fine details, like the clothing of the men. They exhibit an interesting variety of brimmed hats, from sporty looking fedoras to pointed crowned, floppy brimmed hats like the cowboy with the rolled-up jeans is wearing. It's also interesting to look at the cuts of jeans, some of which look very much like a pair of wranglers you'd pick up today, and some of which look like something a Brooklyn hipster would wear to the oxygen bar.