The Bar U Ranch, Part Two
The Bar U Ranch at Longview, south of Calgary, epitomizes the ranching culture of the late 1800s.
And according to historian Simon Evans, the Bar U is associated with several famous people of that era, including the outlaw known as the Sundance Kid.
His real name was Henry Longbaugh, and when things got a bit hot for the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang down in Montana, he came up and lay low in Calgary. Well, Calgary first, and then at the Bar U Ranch.
What a thrill it was for me, I'd heard this rumour for a long time, but what a thrill, when I was working through microfilms of the 1891 census, where they wrote down everybody's name in longhand, there was Henry Longbaugh, as an employee of the Bar U Ranch.
One of the most popular books at the turn of the century was titled The Virginian, written by Owen Whistler.
He tells the story of a man, born in the south, and altogether a kind of a highborn type of cowboy.
He modeled the character of the Virginian on a man called Everett, or Eb Johnson, who he'd met in Wyoming. And he took Whistler, the dude from the east, out hunting, and showed him something of the roundups and the cattle business.
So Eb Johnson, who at the time was only 19, was already the foreman of the Powder River Cattle Company, was the model for the Virginian. So, after he left Wyoming, he came up to Canada - he was looking for a job, he had impeccable recommendations, and he was hired as the foreman of the Bar U.
One of the most famous western artists in the early 1900s was Charlie Russell. His wife was great friends with the wife of George Lane, the second owner of the Bar U Ranch.
Lane commissioned a painting, which now hangs in the Glenbow Museum, of an occasion when he shot some wolves, which were attacking one of his cattle. He was actually coming back from Calgary after the birth of his first daughter, so his head was probably on other things, and on this happy event, when he heard the growls and carryings-on upwind of him of wolves beating up on a cow, and he roared to the rescue and shot three or four of these wolves. And Charlie Russell did a magnificent painting of it.
Charlie Russell often visited the Bar U and sold many of his paintings at the Calgary Stampede.
On the Heritage Trail,
I'm Cheryl Croucher.