Cowpunchers' planned strike starts slow, then flops

March 31st, 1883

On this day in 1883, many Texas cowboys went on strike against their bosses, absentee ranchers. The cowboys' grievances, however, were against developments that proved permanent. As closed-range ranching wiped out the previous open-range industry, some of the cowboys' traditional perks were denied them. No longer could they brand mavericks, keep small herds of their own, or receive part of their pay in calves. The strike mustered some 300 cowboys at its peak strength, but after 2 1/2 months the work stoppage was so weakened that the May roundup occurred without incident. The last press mention of the strike was in the Dodge City Times for May 10, 1883.

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Cowpunchers' planned strike starts slow, then flops

March 31st, 1883

On this day in 1883, many Texas cowboys went on strike against their bosses, absentee ranchers. The cowboys' grievances, however, were against developments that proved permanent. As closed-range ranching wiped out the previous open-range industry, some of the cowboys' traditional perks were denied them. No longer could they brand mavericks, keep small herds of their own, or receive part of their pay in calves. The strike mustered some 300 cowboys at its peak strength, but after 2 1/2 months the work stoppage was so weakened that the May roundup occurred without incident. The last press mention of the strike was in the Dodge City Times for May 10, 1883.

«   Previous Next   »

Related Handbook of Texas Articles

Share this article

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Get a Piece of Texas History in Your Inbox

With more than 27,000 articles about Texas history, the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas is the largest online encyclopedia about all things Texas. Now you can celebrate the history of Texas every day by activating your free subscription to Texas Day by Day. Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles. It's one of the best ways to learn more about Texas history — in only 15 minutes a day!

Activate your free subscription to Texas Day by Day and you can:

  • Explore Texas history each day in bite-sized pieces conveniently delivered to your inbox each morning
  • Astound your friends with your Texas history prowess
  • Get in-depth looks at some of the overlooked events and landmarks in Texas history
  • Discover new places to explore in the Lone Star State
Get your Texas Day by Day delivered straight to your inbox: