In 1904, Eugene J. TenBrink, a second-generation immigrant from the Dutch enclave of West Michigan, traveled to the Great Plains to see the “American West” for himself. He found work with a bonanza farm in Mayville, North Dakota; a cattle ranch in Miles City, Montana; and a sheepherding outfit outside of Sheridan, Wyoming. Although seemingly mundane and unremarkable, Eugene lived the tremendous social, economic, and technological changes that were occurring throughout the US in the decades surrounding the turn of the 20th century. Farm laborer, ranch hand, sheep foreman, and cowpuncher were roles Eugene filled during his time out West (1904-1910) and through which his life gives us insights into a country undergoing profound transformation.

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Grandpa the Cowboy : Deborah L Rotman

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