The Old Chisholm Trail
From Cow Path to Tourist Stop
History - Western History - Texas History - Texana - Agricultural History
6 x 9, 368 pp.
16 b&w photos. 26 maps. Appendix. Bib. Index.
Pub Date: 09/04/2018
Nancy and Ted Paup Ranching Heritage Series
Price:        $37.00

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The Old Chisholm Trail

From Cow Path to Tourist Stop

Wayne Ludwig

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.

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.

What Readers Are Saying:

“At last, here is a new major book on the cattle industry that rises above the romanticized versions of trail driving.  Wayne Ludwig's study is quite timely because of renewed tourist-oriented interest in trail routes and efforts of many cities and towns to link with the legend. It explores not only the evolution of the so-called Chisholm Trail, but also takes great care to provide an in-depth look at related issues, such as the beginning of the cattle industry in Texas, the origin of the hardy longhorn, and the development of cattle trailing and its techniques.  This book indeed replaces Wayne Gard’s The Chisholm Trail as the definitive study of this historic route.” —David Murrah, author of C.C. Slaughter, Rancher, Banker, Baptist

The Old Chisholm Trail makes an important and timely contribution to the history field. Written with both authority and a uniqueness that is refreshing, Ludwig’s sound scholarship rests on extensively researched primary and secondary sources. The reader learns more than expected with inclusion of topics related to the trail and an excellent analysis of myths that are attached to it. Highly recommended.” —Deborah M. Liles, Tarleton State University


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