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This is Page 140.

See some past photo entries below.

See an index of all past photos here.

See Page 1 here with the current photos.


We welcome your pictures. We're looking for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We're looking for vintage photos and contemporary photos: family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you. 

If you have a photo to share, email us for information about sending it to us.


Send your photos.

 Email us.



If you enjoy this feature, you may also be interested in our 
Western Memories Project, the personal recollections—many with photos—contributed by BAR-D visitors.  Your stories and photos are welcome.

We welcome your photos.

We're looking for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We welcome vintage and contemporary photos:  family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you. 

Share your part of the West or the West of your past. To send photos and their descriptions, just email them to us.   

previous  photos

index of all photos

See an index of all past photos here.

Find the current photos here.


September 2, 2014


We asked Montana photographer, journalist, and designer Jeri Dobrowski if she had a photo of "junque" to accompany a poem by Pat Richardson, and who knew that she was a connoisseur?  She shares photos and writes:


© Jeri Dobrowski, jeridobrowski.com

Walking through a farmer's scrap heap isn't too different from looking through a photo album: there's a story behind each item. For example, the pair of heavy-duty wheels and assorted spouts in this picture are remnants of a threshing machine used by my father-in-law, Joe Dobrowski. He and his brother John threshed their own grain and hired out to do the same for neighbors. The long scalloped piece is the flighting from a grain auger. If you look closely, you'll also see a pair of implement seats. The open-topped bucket is approximately half full of railroad spikes.


When combines replaced threshing machines, the boxy, duck-billed contraption was parked out of sight on a hill west of the house. It was the anchor of what we now refer to as the junk pile, a collection of spent, bent, rusted and busted equipment and assorted castoffs.

(Credit and thanks to Robert Ashworth for posting the above photo of a threshing machine, which based upon the wheels, strongly resembles the one Joe owned. Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Red_River_Special_threshing_machine.jpg)

© Jeri Dobrowski, jeridobrowski.com

Other pieces of equipment relegated to our junk pile include this binder ...


© Jeri Dobrowski, jeridobrowski.com

and the hay rack with its uprights visible behind the bull. The manure spreader was likely sold or traded as it is absent from the assortment.

© Jeri Dobrowski, jeridobrowski.com

The International "M" tractor Joe used while cleaning the corral (previous) saw several more decades of service before being retired to the hill.

© Jeri Dobrowski, jeridobrowski.com

To an ingenious, recycling, repurposing farmer or rancher, the ubiquitous junk pile holds the promise of material for a myriad of metal projects. Disassembled through the years, the threshing machine was cannibalized, its parts refashioned as needed. Joe cut the spokes out of one pair of wheels to make a sign for the St. Philip's Church and Cemetery south of Wibaux, Mont. The sign, incorporated into a sucker rod fence (another repurposing of a used item), is shown the day of Joe's funeral as parish members arrive for the service.


© Jeri Dobrowski, jeridobrowski.com

A close up of the letters made from the spokes, taken the day of Joe's wife's funeral.

In the hands of use-it-up, wear-it-out, make-it-do or do-without types, a pile of rusting metal is as good as money in the bank. But, there's also a tangible value in scrap. When metal prices are good, farmers and ranchers are amenable to turning trash into cash. I lament that so many have been cleaned up in the past. Granted, it improves the view and removes dangers lurking in the grass that can injure livestock, but oh, the history and the memories that have and are being lost to behemoth hammer mills and foundry furnaces.

Ask a group of farm- or ranch-raised baby boomers how many played in a junk yard when they were kids. I'd be very surprised if you don't hear several stories about hours spent amid the hulking carcasses of farm equipment and vintage vehicles. My brother and cousins and I sailed around the world on a pirate ship that looked a lot like a John Deere combine. Alas, that's an image that exists only in my mind.



Jeri Dobrowski has contributed many other interesting photos to Picture the West, including:

  Medora, North Dakota's 2012 Flag Day Parade

  Kent Rollins' Red River Chuck Wagon Boot Camp

 A reunion of her Montana pioneering family

  Some domesticated critters

  Petroleum exploration work in her area

  Striking photos of her prairie flower garden

  Highway signs from eastbound I-94 between Rosebud and Hathaway, Montana

More highway signs from the eastbound I-94 near Hysham, Montana 

  Photos and historical markers from Montana's Highway 12

  Photos of her family's veterans for Veteran's Day

  A special Fourth of July photo

  Photos and stories from the early 1900s in Coalwood, Montana

  Photos about her grandfather and "all the things he ever rode..."

Family photos of generations of veterans and some additional World War I photos

Family photos from Yellowstone, from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s

2007 Medora, North Dakota Flag Day parade

  1940s-era photos about McNierney Livestock

photo by Jennifer Dobrowski Rogers

Read Jeri Dobrowski's Cowboy Jam Session and more about her here.

See her gallery of Western performers and others at her site, jeridobrowski.com.




   Share your photos for Picture the West.

Send your views of the West.

We're looking for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We welcome vintage and contemporary photos:  family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you. 

If you have a photo and story to share, email us.



August 18, 2014


Stan Howe, Montana singer, songwriter, musician, storyteller, writer, radio host, auctioneer, Model T authority, and fiddle expert shares photos of the old Milwaukee Railroad stockyards at Square Butte, Montana, northeast of Great Falls.


He writes:

This was on a branch line that ran from Great Falls up through the Highwood Mountains through Shonkin, Montague and several long gone towns. Square Butte survives and much of the road bed was saved by the local farmers to the south and east and operates as the Charlie Russell Choo Choo excursion train as well as hauling grain. Very few of these old stockyards have survived along the Milwaukee, which shut down in 1976 and sold off most of its assets at auction, including the yards, so most were torn down for the lumber.

Further east, in farm country, the stockyards along the railroad were not so important. There were cattle farmers but few ranches in the country east of Aberdeen, South Dakota. Homesteads were filed to grow crops on a farm, not raise stock in large quantities. But as the railroad moved further west through the Dakotas and into Montana the good farm ground was more scattered and there was far more open range to pasture livestock on. Once the Milwaukee built west of Baker, Montana, homesteading was pretty much relegated to the areas along the creeks and draws in the rolling hill country. Not all, of course, but many of the homesteads were taken up to be headquarters for a livestock operation. Much of Montana had been open range with huge herds of cattle ranging the prairies. After the winter of 1887 many of the huge English and Scottish operations that had claimed much of eastern Montana folded up and left, many of the cowboys "squatted" on a good piece of land and established a new type of ranch, one where the cattle were more confined to a small range near the headquarters. As mechanized equipment was developed horse drawn mowers and rakes especially—it became far easier to cut hay and store it to feed in the winter, avoiding another die off of cattle such as the one that took place in 1886-87. When the land was opened to homestead in the early 1900s, many of these ranches were well established and operated over a large but local area.


The government established homestead areas along either side of the new Milwaukee tracks and the Milwaukee bought substantial plots of land from the government which they then sold to the homesteaders or to the ranchers who were already in the area. Land which was not suitable for homesteading was held by the government and leased for grazing. As many of the people who came to these areas had little interest in farming and growing crops and intended to raise cattle to sell to the St. Paul and Chicago markets, good shipping was essential.

The Milwaukee was built to haul freight and livestock as well as passengers so at every siding or town site, they built a good set of corrals designed for holding and sorting cattle before loading them on livestock cars to ship east. Cattle, sheep, horses, goats and pigs all were shipped east to the markets from the small towns and sidings with these stockyards as they were called. In many places along the Milwaukee, a town never developed at the siding but the stockyards were used up until the Milwaukee quit hauling livestock in the 1970's. Many of them were purchased at the auctions held along the tracks after the Milwaukee shut down and are still in use today by local area ranchers as feed pens and holding pens.



Many cattle in Montana are still trailed to a stockyards close to the highway where the stock to be shipped are loaded on trucks and hauled to feedlots or markets. There are many places in Montana where the only traces of the town that existed in homestead days are a few cellar holes and a stockyards. The stockyards made the difference whether a rancher could ship his livestock to a better market when he wanted or whether he was at the mercy of the local market and what demand might or might not be there for his livestock. Had they not been able to ship cattle out of the area there would have been little point in raising them and little profit if they did.

I vividly remember the excitement of loading cattle on the cars, of the steam engine bringing the cars in to be loaded, the men sorting cattle out of the pens, tallying them on to the cars so each owner knew how many he would get paid for when they sold at the market, the railroad representative making sure the cars were not overloaded, marking each car with a chalk brand on the door after it was closed and writing a receipt to each owner. Sometime later in the day or night, a train would stop, back into the siding and pick up the cars and add them to a train going east.

Several times my dad went in the caboose as the representative of the shippers and watched over the stock on the trip, making sure they were fed and watered, that the cars weren't dropped and left set somewhere along the tracks and that they were weighed and tallied correctly at the Yards where they were sold. It must have been in interesting trip for these small ranchers from Westmore and the local area to ride for 36 hours to St. Paul on a cattle train and see the huge stockyards where they were sold.

I think the last cattle we shipped on the railroad was in 1954, when I was 12. After that we trucked them to Miles City and sold them at the yards there.

Some of my best memories from my eastern Montana childhood are going to Ismay to watch them ship the Hamilton Ranch, Bickle Ranch and other big ranches' cattle. It would take most of the day to load the train, some of those ranches would ship two train loads of steers in the fall. Hardly anybody sold calves like they do now, they were nearly all held over and sold as yearling steers.

When I was about ten, we trailed Frank Dietz's cattle to Ismay to ship them, I got to ride Betsy and go along. We spent one day gathering his cattle and cutting off the steers from the rest of the herd, held the steers over night and trailed them to Ismay to the stockyards where they were loaded in the evening on the cars to go east that evening. It was about eight miles and I rode all the way.

When we got them to the stockyards we all went to Sykes Cafe to eat. Frank told the waitress to bring all the men T Bone steaks. My dad said to just bring me a Hamburger but Frank said, "He did a man's work today, bring him a man's meal, bring him a T Bone steak." I have seldom felt so proud in my life and I ate every bite of it. Frank was an ancient old bachelor about 60, had a lot of cattle and never spent a dime so I guess he could afford it and he gave me a memory I'll never forget.


Stan Howe has contributed other interesting photos to Picture the West:

  Montana winter ranchland photos

  (Four parts): Galata, Montana

  Old Montana Buildings

  An old sheepwagon

  An eastern Montana homestead and hayfields

  Remnants of  eastern Montana homesteads, part 2

  Remnants of eastern Montana homesteads, part 1

Dodson, Montana's cowboy bar

  The home place, Westmore, Montana

  Spring fiddlers' show in Pony, Montana

StanBetsy1949.jpg (27787 bytes)   Photos and stories from the family ranch in Westmore, Montana

 Early eastern Montana homestead photos


You can contact Stan Howe: 4433 Red Fox Drive, Helena, Montana 59602, 406-443-5658, email.

Visit his site about Westmore, Montana:  www.westmoremontana.info



   Share your photos for Picture the West.

Send your views of the West.

We're looking for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We welcome vintage and contemporary photos:  family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you. 

If you have a photo and story to share, email us.


August 4, 2014


Oklahoma rancher and respected cowboy poet and reciter Jay Snider shares photos from the historic Magdalena, New Mexico Livestock Driveway.

He tells that on a recent trip, "I wanted to take some pictures of the old shipping pens from an era long gone. I’m quite sure that if you stood by these old pens on a quiet moonlit night, you could hear the whoops and hollers of many an old cowboy and the bawling of hundreds of thousands of cattle...The railroad tracks are no longer there but many of the pens remain even though the years have taken their toll on them."

The Magdalena Chamber of Commerce site notes, "Magdalena is known as the 'Trails End' for the railroad/spur line which was built in 1885 from Socorro to Magdalena to transport the cattle, sheep wool, timber and ore. Thousands of cattle and sheep were driven into town (cowboy style) from the west, using the historic 'Stock Driveway,' aka 'Hoof Highway.' The original historic stockyards are still intact....During the drives cowboys moved about 10 miles a day, and herders moved sheep about 5 miles a day, allowing them to graze as they went. Chuck wagons and relays of horses followed behind. Trailing gave way to trucking, and the last portion of the driveway was officially closed in November of 1971."





Jay has shared other photos in Picture the West:

  The fifth generation of Oklahoma Snider cowboys

At the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in 2010

  From along the Chisholm Trail, in October, 2009

  Generations of Snider family cowboys in April, 2009

  Photos of Jay's mother, rodeo queen and good hand, in September, 2009

  Photos and stories about Jay's grandfather, Marvin Turner (1905-1976), who was a brand inspector for the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, in May, 2008

  Three generations of rodeoing Sniders, and four generations horseback in September, 2007

  Jay Snider's Rafter S Ranch Cowboy Reunion in August, 2007

Read more about Jay Snider and some of his poetry here and visit www.JaySnider.net.

Photo by Jeri L. Dobrowski; see her gallery of western performers and others here.
Jay Snider, National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Elko, Nevada 2007



   Share your photos for Picture the West.

Send your views of the West.

We're looking for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We welcome vintage and contemporary photos:  family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you. 

If you have a photo and story to share, email us.









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