“The Wandering Cowboy (I)”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1928
Keywords: death fight cowboy rambling love friend homicide burial
Found in: US(SE,So,SW) Canada


A cowboy sadly tells the tale of why he left home: He had killed a childhood friend in a quarrel over a girl: "So that's the reason why I am compelled to roam. A sinner of the darkest strain, Far far away from home"


The Arthur Miles recording contains one of the few examples of "throat singing" (overtone singing) I've heard in American tradition. The song should not be confused with "The Wandering Cowboy (II)," which is unrelated. - PJS

Cross references



  1. Laws B7, "The Wandering Cowboy"
  2. Randolph 190, "The Wandering Cowboy" (3 texts, 2 tunes)
  3. BrownII 265, "A Jolly Group of Cowboys" (1 text)
  4. Larkin, pp. 144-146, "Wandering Cowboy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. McNeil-SFB1, pp. 157-159, "The Wandering Cowboy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. Fife-Cowboy/West 89, "Cowboy's Home Sweet Home" (2 texts, 1 tune)
  7. Ohrlin-HBT 66, "Franklin Slaughter Ranch" (1 text, 1 tune)
  8. DT 798, WANDCOWB
  9. Roud #633
  10. BI, LB07