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Brado, Edward.

Vancouver, Douglas & McIntyre, c1984. 298pp, cloth, $24.95, ISBN 0-88894-445-4. CIP

Grades 9 and up
Reviewed by R. Wieler

Volume 13 Number 5
1985 September

Alberta journalist Edward Brado provides a colourful description of the brief era in Canadian history (1880-1912) when large cattle ranches were created in the Northwest Territories. The author traces the development of the cattle ranch concept in Mexico and the western United States, and provides interesting information on the introduction of beef cattle into Canada, first at Red River in the early twentieth century, and then in southern Alberta in the 1870s and 1880s.

Brado focusses on the histories of several of the large ranches in southern Alberta, for example, Cochrane and Oxley, and describes the raffish cast of characters, from European entrepreneurs to cowboys, the climatic hazards, and the problem of government land grants for ranches versus the introduction of the homestead system that characterized the ranching era in the West.

Many amusing incidents involving the life of the cowboys, such as conflicts with the Indians and the vagaries of the Canadian climate are provided. An interesting character sketch of Pat Bums, an Ontarian who parlayed a small slaughterhouse in Calgary into a giant meatpacking and cattle empire is included. The book is a useful supplement for students and teachers in history and geography courses at the high school level.

R. Wieler, Glenlawn C.I., Winnipeg, Man.
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