“The Horse Wrangler (The Tenderfoot)”


A young fellow decides to try cowpunching. The foreman assures his that it is an easy job, but the young man soon finds reason to disagree. Hurt by a fall, he gives up the job or is fired


The authorship of this piece is uncertain. Lomax credits it to D. J. O'Malley (writing under the name R. J. Stovall); in 1932 O'Malley emphatically claimed authorship, claiming to have written in the piece in 1893. Logsdon apparently has no hesitation about crediting it to O'Malley; neither does Cannon. However, the song was also claimed by an R. D. Mack, and Thorp's 1921 edition credits it to "Yank Hitson, Denver, Colorado, 1889." Perhaps more significantly, Thorp reports collecting it in Arizona in 1899.

In support of O'Malley's authorship, we note that O'Malley is also credited with "Charlie Rutledge," which also appeared in the Miles Ciry journal in the 1890s. - RBW

Cross references

  • cf. "The Day I Played Base Ball" (tune)


  • Slim Critchlow, "D-Bar-2 Horse Wrangler" (on Critchlow1, BackSaddle)
  • Glenn Ohrlin, "The Tender Foot" (on Ohrlin10)


  1. Laws B27, "The Horse Wrangler (The Tenderfoot")
  2. Fowke/Johnston, pp. 96-97, "The Tenderfoot" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Sandburg, pp. 274-275, "The Tenderfoot" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Thorp/Fife III, pp. 44-57 (13-14), "The Tenderfoot" (7 texts, 4 tunes)
  5. Fife-Cowboy/West 72, "The Tenderfoot" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. Ohrlin-HBT 19, "Cowboy's Life" (1 text, 1 tune)
  7. Logsdon 17, pp. 118-122, "The Skewbald Black" (1 text, 1 tune)
  8. LPound-ABS, 82, pp. 176-178, "Breaking in a Tenderfoot" (1 text)
  9. Silber-FSWB, p. 114, "The Tenderfoot" (1 text)
  10. DT 599, TNDRFOOT
  11. ADDITIONAL: Hal Cannon, editor, _Cowboy Poetry: A Gathering_, Giles M. Smith, 1985, p. 28-29, "D-2 Horse Wrangler" (1 text)
  12. Roud #3246
  13. BI, LB27


Author: words credited to D. J. O'Malley (but see below); tune "The Day I Played Base Ball"
Earliest date: 1894 (Miles City, Montana Stock Growers' Journal, credited to "R. J. Stovall")
Found in: US(MA,NW,So) Canada