The Old Chisholm Trail: From Cow Path to Tourist Stop
The Old Chisholm Trail charts the evolution of the major Texas cattle trails, explores the rise of the Chisholm Trail in legend and lore, and analyzes the role of cattle trail tourism long after the end of the trail driving era itself. The result of years of original and innovative research—often using documents and sources unavailable to previous generations of historians—Wayne Ludwig’s groundbreaking study offers a new and nuanced look at an important but short-lived era in the history of the American West.
Controversy over the name and route of the Chisholm Trail has persisted since before the dust had even settled on the old cattle trails. But the popularity of late nineteenth-century Wild West shows, dime novels, and twentieth-century radio, movie, and television western drama propelled the already bygone era of the cattle trail into myth—and a lucrative one at that.
Ludwig correlates the rise of automobile tourism with an explosion of interest in the Chisholm Trail. Community leaders were keenly aware of the potential economic impact if tourists were induced to visit their town rather than another, and the Chisholm Trail was often just the hook needed. Numerous “historical” markers were erected on little more than hearsay or boosterish memory, and as a result, the true history of the Chisholm Trail has been overshadowed. The Old Chisholm Trail is the first comprehensive examination of the Chisholm Trail since Wayne Gard’s 1954 classic study, The Chisholm Trail, and makes an important—and modern—contribution to the history of the American West.
Winner, 2018 Elmer Kelton Book of the Year, sponsored by the Academy of Western Artists
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1 The Texas Cattle Trails
2 Sea Lions and Old Texans
3 Quarantines and Cattle Ticks
4 Life on the Trail
5 The Earliest Trails
6 Two Chisholms and a Chisum
7 Jesse Chisholm Blazes a Trail
8 A New Outlet
12 The End of the Trails
13 The Chisholm Trail from Newsprint to Hollywood
14 From Chisholms Trail to Meridian Highway
15 Marking the Chisholm Trail
16 Old Chestnuts and White Lies
17 National Historic Trails and Santa Claus
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Abilene Cattle Trail accessed June April Archives Austin Caldwell cattle drives cattle market cattlemen Charles Goodnight Cherokee Chickasaw Chisholm name Chisholm Trail Chisholm Trail name Chisholm’s Cattle Trail Chisum Chronicling America Creek crossed the Red Daily Denton County disease Dobie Dodge City drovers Emporia Kansas Fort Griffin Fort Worth Frontier Handbook of Texas herd Highway Commission Historic American Newspapers Historical Association horses Indian Territory Jesse Chisholm John Library of Congress Little Arkansas livestock located McCoy Meridian Highway Mexico miles Missouri Montague County monument National North Canadian River North Texas Libraries Old Chisholm Trail P. P. Ackley Portal to Texas prairie quarantine railhead Railroad ranch Red River Station referencing Report road route Saunders Serial Set Shawnee Stock Texas Cattle Trail Texas fever Texas History Texas Longhorn Texas Online Texas State Historical trade Trail Drivers Trail in Texas trail marking University of North Western Trail Worth www.chroniclingamerica.loc.gov