Last Longhorn, The
DESCRIPTION: "An aged longhorn bovine lay dying on the river...." As the bull says it does not wish to live alone, the cowboy watches the passing of their era. The bull dies. The cowboy rides off; "His horse stepped in a dog hole and fell and broke his spine"
AUTHOR: Words: John Wesley / Music: Carl T. Sprague (source: Tinsley)
EARLIEST DATE: 1917 ("The Cattleman"); Sprague set the tune in 1929 (source: Tinsley)
KEYWORDS: cowboy animal death
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Fife-Cowboy/West 115, "The Last Longhorn" (1 text, 1 tune)
Tinsley, pp. 220-223, "The Last Longhorn" (1 text, 1 tune)
ST FCW115 (Partial)
Carl T. Sprague, "The Last Longhorn" (Victor V-40197, 1930; Mongomery Ward M-4467, 1934; on MakeMe, WhenIWas1)
NOTES [103 words]: The dating of the Fifes' version is rather strange; the final verse says that the cowboys' "glory has departed in 1889," but earlier it said that the last comrades of the longhorn "were embalmed to feed the boys who were a-fighting Spain" (placing the song after 1898). Since the cow also refers to the 1880s as "some nineteen summers past," the correct date in the final verse is probably 1899.
The longhorn cow was rugged and strong, but stubborn and perhaps not the best source of meat. Thus, after the closing of the frontier in the late eighteenth century, it was supplanted by domestic breeds. Hence this song. - RBW
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