Book cover image for: To Be a Cowboy: Oliver Christensen’s Story

To Be a Cowboy: Oliver Christensen's Story


By Barbara Holliday, As Told By Oliver Christensen

$24.95 CAD / $28.95 USD

164 pages, 53 illustrations

978-1-55238-117-5 (Paperback)

978-1-55238-460-2 (Institutional PDF)

February 2004

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About the Book

During a time of two world wars and a sluggish world economy, many Northern Europeans left their homelands to build the American and Canadian West with dreams of abundance and new life. Spanning a period from the late 1800s to the mid-1900s, To Be a Cowboy recounts the dreams and realities of a father and a son. Otto Christensen came to North America in the early 1900s as an indentured farm worker from Denmark with a dream of becoming a successful farmer in Alberta. His son, Oliver, grew up on his father’s farm during the Dirty Thirties and soon realized his dream of becoming a cowboy in the mid-1940s. As a rider at the Bar U Ranch — the largest, most successful ranch in Canada at the time – Oliver discovered life as a cowboy could not be his for long. Based on oral history interviews and a treasure trove of family papers, To Be A Cowboy is a compelling memoir that paints a portrait of a dying way of life.

Barbara Holliday was a historian on the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site development project for six years. Born in Manitoba, Barbara moved from one Canadian Navy base to another, dreaming of owning a horse and living in Alberta one day.