Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ralph Moody: Little Britches series and concise histories

Ralph Moody: (autobiography and history)

When the author was twenty-one, he wrote in a diary that he would work as hard as he could to save $50,000 by the time he was fifty, and then write a book. He began Little Britches on his 50th birthday. Touching saga--great account of growing up in the early 1900's.


· Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers [1906 - 1910 - Colorado]

· Man of the Family [1910-1912, Colorado]

· The Home Ranch [summer of 1911 - amplifies his story as ranch hand from "Man of the Family", Colorado]

· Mary Emma and Company [1912 - Massachusetts]

· The Fields of Home [1914 -1915 - grandfather's farm, Maine]

· Shaking the Nickel Bush [1918, Arizona]

· The Dry Divide [19_, Nebraska]

· Horse of a Different Color: Reminiscences of a Kansas Drover [19__ in his early twenties]

History - by Moody include:

(I have read all except the one I have not yet found. They are as gripping as his autobiographies, very well researched and presented. It is clear that research for the individuals books was preparatory to the "Old Trails" and "Stagecoach West" which are detailed history books)

  • Kit Carson and the Wild Frontier (1955)
  • Geronimo, Wolf of the Warpath (1958)
  • Riders of the Pony Express (1958)
  • Wells Fargo (1961)
  • Silver and Lead: The Birth and Death of a Mining Town (1961) - juvenile book format; story of "Silver City" with explanations of how minerals came to be there in the first place, etc.
  • America Horses (1962)
  • Come on Seabiscuit (1963) - this book is not credited as telling the "real story" in the way the much more recent book and movie, "Seabiscuit" are credited. However, it is a more succinct, very engrossing, accurate (as far as I can tell) representation of the facts in the recent version.
  • The Old Trails West - Vol. 1 - The Gila Trail, El Camino Real, Old Spanish Trail" - The Great Legendary Routes that Bound a Wild Land into a Nation - 4538-1880 (1963)
  • "Gateways to the Northwest - The Old Trails West - Vol. 2 - The Santa Fe Trail, Big Medicine Trail, The Oregon Trail, The California Trail" (1963)
  • Stagecoach West (1967) - (this is truly "pure history" with a great deal of carefully researched history. You will pick up most of the interesting parts if you read all of the other histories.)
  • Knife is Not Enough (can't find this one yet)
  • The Wild Country (hard to find -- this is NOT a different book; it was originally published as Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers. I have included it in this list for informational purposes only, as you may find it listed in some places. It was made into a Disney movie, but the movie is not much recognizable from the book. It is, however, a good family movie and manages to maintain the "flavor" of the books in an acceptable manner.)