Buckaroos and Mud Pups

The Early Days of Ranching in British Columbia

By (author): Ken Mather
ISBN 9781894974097
Softcover | Publication Date: April 5, 2010
Book Dimensions: 6 in x 9 in
224 Pages

About the Book

Remarkable cattle drives, famous ranches and legendary characters are at the heart of Ken Mather’s account of the early days of ranching in British Columbia. These are stories about drovers, ranchers, cowboys and “mud pups” (the remittance men of the ranching industry). You’ll meet such people as

  • the flamboyant Harper brothers, drovers who went on to become the biggest landowners in BC, with interests in the Harper, Perry, Hat Creek and famous Gang ranches
  • Johnny Wilson, one of the most successful ranchers in the industry, who became known as the “BC Cattle King”
  • Jim Madden—nicknamed “Big Kid” for his exuberant personality and childish innocence and whose simple lifestyle and colourful adventures made him famous in the Nicola and surrounding valleys
  • Coutts Marjoribanks, a mud pup whose skills as a cowboy—and his exploits, such as riding his horse up the steep steps and into the Kalamalka Hotel bar—far outshone his talents as the ranch manager his rich family forced him to be.

The story begins at the time of BC’s first gold rush, and the start of a decade that would see more than 22,000 head of cattle brought into the colony. The author takes readers through to 1914, by which time ranching in the BC Interior had become big business. Complete with informative tidbits about the cowboy’s tools of the trade, Buckaroos and Mud Pups is an entertaining look at fascinating times and the men who made them so.

About the Author(s)

Ken Mather has been researching western Canadian heritage for over four decades, working in curatorial, management, and research roles at Fort Edmonton Park, Barkerville, and the O'Keefe Ranch since the early 1970s. He is the author of several books on pioneer and ranching history, including Stagecoach North, Trail North, Ranch Tales, and Frontier Cowboys and the Great Divide.