Black Cowboys of the Old West
- 30 general chapter questions:

  1. What do you think contributed to the cowboy becoming the symbol of the American West?
  2. Why do you think twenty-first century Americans continue to vicariously live through the cowboy?
  3. What is meant by the author’s statement, “The quintessential cowboy is a composite figure; no one person characterizes the man.”?
  4. Would you have liked to have been a cowboy during the mid-1800s? Why or why not?
  5. Did it surprise you to learn that in reality most cowboys were poor shots and were disallowed from carrying guns? Why do you think this was the case?
  6. Would you have joined cattle outfits and traveled over the cattle trails during the cowboy era? Why or why not?
  7. What attracts people to the lifestyle of the cowboy?
  8. Which character in the book can you most identify with and why?
  9. What contributed to the black cowboys not being portrayed in the Hollywood cowboy movies and books?
  10. Which story moved you the most and why?
  11. Cowboys of the Old West were not all white. They were also of Hispanic, African-American, and Native American descent. Why do you think this a lesser known fact in American history?
  12. If you could have lived the life of any character in the book, which would it be and why?
  13. Black cowboys hoped to be treated with dignity and respect for the work they performed, yet they did experience prejudice. When and why was this most likely to occur?
  14. What caused the end of the cattle industry described by the open ranges and long cattle drives? Was it inevitable?
  15. What do you think it would have been like for a young black boy in the 1930s to have seen his first black cowboy; having previously thought all cowboys were white? What impact would this make on a youngster?
  16. What surprised you most about the book? About any character in particular?
  17. Why do you think black cowboys had to be extraordinary to have their individual stories survive?
  18. How would you have handled the hardships and privations along the cattle trails? What would have been the most difficult situation to deal with?
  19. Which of these cowboy jobs would you liked to have done and why? A wrangler, rider, roper, bulldogger, broncobuster, mustanger, drover, foreman, cowpuncher, cattle rustler, brand reader, cattleman, cook, singer, or fiddler?
  20. What was generally the highest rank a black cowboy could achieve and why?
  21. When railroads criss-crossed the nation it signaled the end of an era. Why was this?
  22. Cowboys and cattleman had a firsthand account of seeing how railroads were changing their lives. What do you think they thought about this?
  23. What was the most difficult, challenging, or demanding aspect of a cowboy’s life?
  24. How did talented cowboys find new venues to ply their trade after the end of the heyday of the cowboy era of 1866-1886?
  25. How and why did rodeo competitions evolve?
  26. Describe a Wild West Show. Why and where were they popular?
  27. How did Wild West Shows change over the years?
  28. What rodeo events today have a direct link to the open-range cattle industry of the nineteenth century?
  29. In what way do cowboys provide a connection to America’s collective past?
  30. Which two cowboys do you feel were the most similar and which were the most dissimilar? Explain why.