The Old Chisholm Trail: From Cow Path to Tourist Stop

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Texas A&M University Press, Sep 4, 2018 - History - 368 pages
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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Contents

1 The Texas Cattle Trails
1
2 Sea Lions and Old Texans
10
3 Quarantines and Cattle Ticks
21
4 Life on the Trail
34
5 The Earliest Trails
50
6 Two Chisholms and a Chisum
64
7 Jesse Chisholm Blazes a Trail
71
8 A New Outlet
79
12 The End of the Trails
117
13 The Chisholm Trail from Newsprint to Hollywood
132
14 From Chisholms Trail to Meridian Highway
140
15 Marking the Chisholm Trail
152
16 Old Chestnuts and White Lies
162
17 National Historic Trails and Santa Claus
175
Appendix
191
Notes
201

9 Chisholms Trail
85
10 Chisums Trail
97
11 The Fort Griffin or Dodge City Trail
104
Bibliography
253
Index
287
Copyright

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About the author (2018)

WAYNE LUDWIG is a resident historian of the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum (formerly the Cowboys of Color Museum) in Fort Worth, where he also resides.

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