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Elofson examines the lives of cowboys and ranch owners during the short-lived free-range era with its oversized spreads. He looks at the prevalence of drunkenness, prostitution, gunplay, and rustling in both localities and contact with the supposed civilities of tennis courts, grand pianos, ostentatious dinners, and fancy balls in both regions.
Elofson drawns upon the artwork, short stories, and legend of Charlie Russell, a cowboy and rancher who moved between the regions, to illustrate his point.
Warren M. Elofson is professor of history at the University of Calgary and the author of Cowboys, Gentlemen and Cattle Thieves. He has farmed and ranched in Alberta all his life.