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Horseback riding, Echo Valley
(Albert Normandin photo)

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast

Cowboy History

The British Columbia cowboy is a multi-faceted character.

He is said to have combined the Mexican vaquero’s skills, equipment and clothes, the US frontiersman’s grit and resourcefulness, the First Nations’ respect for nature and the British gentry’s sense of law, order and manners. He has his own unique brand of humour.

The North American beef cattle industry arrived in British Columbia in the spring of 1858 when the first commercial herd of cattle was trailed from Oregon for sale to hungry miners who were seeking gold in the Fraser River.

Thousands of head followed, and while most ended up on dinner plates, the drovers and other newcomers were quick to realize their futures might lie in the lush green grass of the central interior. Many who came for gold stayed to raise cattle.

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