Horse Wrangler, The (The Tenderfoot) [Laws B27]
DESCRIPTION: A young fellow decides to try cowpunching. The foreman assures his that it is an easy job, but the young man soon finds reason to disagree. Hurt by a fall, he gives up the job or is fired
AUTHOR: words credited to D. J. O'Malley (but see below); tune "The Day I Played Base Ball"
EARLIEST DATE: 1894 (Miles City, Montana Stock Growers' Journal, credited to "R. J. Stovall")
KEYWORDS: cowboy injury work horse humorous
FOUND IN: US(MA,NW,So) Canada
REFERENCES (13 citations):
Laws B27, "The Horse Wrangler (The Tenderfoot")
Fowke/Johnston, pp. 96-97, "The Tenderfoot" (1 text, 1 tune)
Sandburg, pp. 274-275, "The Tenderfoot" (1 text, 1 tune)
Thorp/Fife III, pp. 44-57 (13-14), "The Tenderfoot" (7 texts, 4 tunes)
Fife-Cowboy/West 72, "The Tenderfoot" (1 text, 1 tune)
Ohrlin-HBT 19, "Cowboy's Life" (1 text, 1 tune)
Logsdon 17, pp. 118-122, "The Skewbald Black" (1 text, 1 tune)
LPound-ABS, 82, pp. 176-178, "Breaking in a Tenderfoot" (1 text)
Welsch, pp. 22-24, "The Horse-Wrangler" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 114, "The Tenderfoot" (1 text)
DT 599, TNDRFOOT
ADDITIONAL: John I. White, _Git Along, Little Dogies: Songs and Songmakers of the American West_, 1975 (page references are to the 1989 University of Illinois Press edition), pp. 73-100, "D. J. 'Kid' O'Malley, Montana Cowboy Poet" (1 text, 1 tune on pp. 89-91)
Hal Cannon, editor, _Cowboy Poetry: A Gathering_, Giles M. Smith, 1985, p. 28-29, "D-2 Horse Wrangler" (1 text)
Bill Bender (The Happy Cowboy), "The Tenderfoot" (Varsity 5148, n.d.; rec. 1939)
Slim Critchlow, "D-Bar-2 Horse Wrangler" (on Critchlow1, BackSaddle)
Glenn Ohrlin, "The Tender Foot" (on Ohrlin10)
cf. "The Day I Played Base Ball" (tune)
NOTES: The authorship of this piece is slightly uncertain. Lomax credits it to D. J. O'Malley (writing under the name R. J. Stovall); in 1932 O'Malley emphatically claimed authorship, claiming to have written in the piece in 1893. Logsdon apparently has no hesitation about crediting it to O'Malley; neither does Cannon. Sam Hinton heard a story that the real R. J. Stovall gave O'Malley a $5 hat for the right to publish the song under his name (so Sing Out!, volume 41, #2 , p. 134, probably deriving the story from p. 87 of the essay by John I. White cited below).
However, the song was also claimed by an R. D. Mack, and Thorp's 1921 edition credits it to "Yank Hitson, Denver, Colorado, 1889." Perhaps more significantly, Thorp reports collecting it in Arizona in 1899. J. Frank Dobie rejected O'Malley's authorship, although for frankly rather absurd reasons.
In support of O'Malley's authorship, we note that O'Malley is also credited with "Charlie Rutledge," which also appeared in the Miles Ciry journal in the 1890s. On the other hand, O'Malley has also been credited with "Little Joe the Wrangler," and the evidence is strong that Thorp wrote that.
For background on O'Malley (and some prints from the Miles City newspaper), see John I. White, Git Along, Little Dogies: Songs and Songmakers of the American West, 1975 (page references are to the 1989 University of Illinois Press edition), pp. 73-100, "D. J. 'Kid' O'Malley, Cowboy Poet." O'Malley's title was "The 'D2' Horse Wrangler." - RBW
Last updated in version 3.6
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.