image of the book cover of Rocking P Ranch and the Second Cattle Frontier in Western Canada

Rocking P Ranch and the Second Cattle Frontier in Western Canada

Clay Chattaway and, Warren Elofson

$42.99 CAD / $42.99 USD

320 pages, 72 illustrations

6 x 9 inches

Hardback: 1-77385-010-5

Paperback: 978-1-77385-010-8

Epub: 978-1-77385-013-9

Library PDF: 978-1-77385-012-2

January 2019

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Rancher Clay Chattaway and scholar Warren Elofson draw on the remarkable amateur newspaper The Rocking P Gazette as a lens through which to view the Second Cattle Frontier.

The Rocking P Ranch was one of the most ambitious family ranches in Southern Alberta. Founded in 1900 by Roderick Riddle Macleay, the Rocking P flourished during the Second Cattle Frontier as open-range Texas System ranches failed.

Beginning in 1923, Maxine and Dorothy Macleay edited, reported, and published The Rocking P Gazette, a monthly newspaper grounded in the daily life of the Rocking P Ranch. With an audience of their parents and relatives, cowpunchers, teachers, and cooks, the 12- and 14-year-old sisters set out to create a family newspaper that reflected as closely as possible the commercial publications of the time. With sections for local news, advertisements, riddles, poetry, and contributions from Macleay ranch hands, The Rocking P Gazette brings the family ranch to life.

Clay Chattaway and Warren Elofson draw upon this remarkable resource to explore the Second Cattle Frontier and to tell the story of the Rocking P Ranch. Through the lens of The Rocking P Gazette, Chattaway and Elofson detail not only a system of agricultural production, but a way of life that continues to this day. 

About the Authors

Clay Chattaway is a cattle rancher and grandson of Roderick Riddle Macleay. With his wife, Avril, his three sons and their families, Clay operates the Bar S Ranch in the Porcupine Hills west of Nanton, Alberta.

Warren Elofson is a Professor of History at the University of Calgary. He is the author of a number of books on Canadian, American, and Australian ranching history, including Somebody Else’s Money and So Far and Yet So Close.

Praise for Rocking P Ranch and the Second Cattle Frontier in Western Canada

The book succeeds as a celebration of [a] family’s achievement, of the rich set of sources left behind as a result, and as an look inside ranch life in the first half of the twentieth century.

—Jamie Murton, Histoire sociale/Social History

A lively read and a captivating account of the Rocking P. Ranch.

—Brooke Campbell, Canada’s History Magazine

A great collaboration that brings family ranch history to life!

—Richard W. Slatta, professor of History, North Carolina State University

A lively account of the Rocking P. Ranch and southern Alberta ranching life in the first half of the twentieth-century. 

—Donald Smith, professor emeritus, University of Calgary

This fascinating account, enriched by the artwork of Dorothy and Maxine Macleay, serves as a reminder that young people are often astute observers and commentators.

—Bill Waiser, distinguished professor emeritus, University of Saskatchewan

Rocking P Ranch in the Media

Ranch History Book Based on Old Newspaper, The Western Producer

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Macleay Family and the Rocking P Gazette

The Second Cattle Frontier in Western Canada

Go West Young Men
The Extended Family period: Riddle and Macleay Brothers
Nature’s Fury and The Tattered Dream
The Rocking P Ranch (and Farm)
Enlisting the Nuclear Family, 1909-1925
Finance Matters

The Rocking P Gazette

Introducing the Rocking P Gazette
The Rural West
Country Entertainment
Principles of Need
From Religion to Race
Reinforcing Family Values