Pulling Leather: Being the Early Recollections of a Cowboy on the Wyoming Range, 1884-1889

Pulling Leather: Being the Early Recollections of a Cowboy on the Wyoming
  Range, 1884-1889

Pulling Leather: Being the Early Recollections of a Cowboy on the Wyoming Range, 1884-1889

By Reuben B. Mullins

“During April in 1884, I took Horace Greeley’s advice and headed for the big, open spaces in Wyoming. After dodging brakemen night and day, sleeping in boxcars, and living on crackers part of the time, I arrived in Cheyenne, after being incarcerated in a boxcar of lumber for twenty-four hours without food or water. Oh, yes, the old stomach felt as though it had gone on a prolonged vacation, while thirst had become a habit. Searching through my pockets, I found a lone fifty-cent piece, the only cash between me and starvation. Leaving the station yards, I found an eating joint where I filled up, but when I left that restaurant, I was broke and no job in sight.”

Roundups, trail drives, a lynching, mail-order romances, blacksmithing, Indians, the blizzard of 1885-86, bunkhouse humor, Calamity Jane, cattle barons—Reuben Mullins experienced the West as it will never be again. This first-hand account, told by a man who lived the life, has become a respected range classic.

  • • 0-931271-10-x • trade paper • index • bibliography • photos • 247 pp • $18.95 ORDER NOW
Pulling Leather: Being the Early Recollections of a Cowboy on the Wyoming
  Range, 1884-1889

Pulling Leather: Being the Early Recollections of a Cowboy on the Wyoming Range, 1884-1889

By Reuben B. Mullins

“…[this] memoir represents as real a record of life in the West as exists anywhere…”
•• Red Neck Review of Literature

“Reuben B. Mullins could ride and write!”
•• Bloomsbury Review

Reuben B. Mullins

Reuben Mullins was born in Missouri in 1863. At age fifteen, without any money and without saying good-bye to his family, Reuben left home, going “down the dusty road with his face to the West.”

After exploring different areas, in 1883 he got off a train in Cheyenne and took work as a blacksmith on the Sybille Ditch project near Wheatland, Wyoming. He became disheartened when his buddy was hanged after a drunken shooting incident. He then hired on at the Swan Land and Cattle Company in Chugwater as a blacksmith. He eventually became a Swan Company cowboy and spent his next six summers cowboying around the Wyoming range, primarily on the AU7 and 4W near Lusk. He worked in mines or as a blacksmith in the winters.

He eventually reconnected with his brother Charles who was practicing medicine in Nebraska, and Rueben decided to try medical school himself. He studied to overcome his lack of formal education, was accepted to medical school and practiced medicine in Broken Bow and Gering, Nebraska.

In 1901, he retired from practicing medicine and studied dentistry. He practiced dentistry in Nebraska until he retired. At age sixty, he began writing and produced this book as well as several other manuscripts.
Reuben married three times: the first marriage ended in divorce, his second wife died, and his third wife survived him.
He died in 1935 at the age of seventy-two.
-----------

The manuscript was discovered in archival collections and edited by Jan Elizabeth Roush and Lawrence Clayton. At the time of publication, Dr. Roush was on the English faculty at Utah State University in Logan, Utah, and Dr. Clayton was the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. Both held life-long interests in the literature and culture of the Old West.