Law of the Range: Portraits of Old-Time Brand Inspectors

Stephen Collector, Author, Annick Smith, Illustrator Clark City Press $45 (118p) ISBN 978-0-944439-45-6
Freelance photographer Collector reveals a ``western everyman's tale'' in the weathered faces of brand inspectors and range detectives who pursue cattle rustlers. Over the past 11 years, he gathered 50 duotone portraits of these veteran cowboys and heard their stories of growing up, building homes, rodeoing and cowpunching on the range. ``I saw . . . the business side of cowboying,'' he writes. ``There was nothing romantic about a guy working the stock pens.'' Smith, a freelance writer, notes that brand-inspecting can be a thankless task, since ranchers are reluctant to prosecute thieves; Collector's subjects rarely smile, and their visages reflect lifetimes of hard work. Unfortunately, the biographical captions outline the men's varied histories only vaguely, and anecdotes are few. Tenderfoot readers understand that these hardy men love the unforgiving range and its inhabitants, yet we are left with little feel for the American West. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1991
Release date: 09/01/1991
Genre: Nonfiction
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