Picture the West: Mike Moutoux

Picture the West looks for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We’re looking for vintage and contemporary photos: family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you.

If you have a photo to share, email us.

Find many years’ previous photos at CowboyPoetry.com.



New Mexico cowboy, songwriter, poet, entertainer, and photographer Mike Moutoux shares pictures below from this fall. He writes:

“A good friend of mine, Randy Huston, asked me to come up for a branding and of course I made the long drive to be there. That is what friends do. Turns out, Randy has a lot of friends who do the same and together we made short work out of branding his crop of Corriente calves. It was a picture perfect shirtsleeves by 8:00 in the morning day, and with all the help he had, I got permission to just run a camera for a while.

(All photos: © 2016, Mike Moutoux, mikemoutoux.com. Request permission for use.)




“It is always a pleasure to be in a branding pen; for me it is much more enjoyable than a rodeo. There is the pleasure of getting work done, being side by side with folks you both like and admire, occasional misses and slip-ups offset by slick catches and quick thinking ropers and flankers speeding up the work and keeping each other and the livestock safe. The dust, the smoke and the noise are unique to the work and create an atmosphere I love to be in the middle of.




“My song’s line below, ‘Seen fine roping done by the best of quiet men’ was inspired by this particular crew that Randy puts together. It is a pleasure to ride beside them and watch them work. They make it look easy; they make me proud to be part of the crew; they understand if I sit out a spell to take photos like these so I can share it all with others. They are the best of quiet men.”


(All photos: © 2016, Mike Moutoux, mikemoutoux.com. Request permission for use.)


lyrics by Mike Moutoux

I’m grateful for the chances given me
For places that could set my spirit free
Been reckless when I had to be
No, long days never bothered me
‘Cause I saw things I’d never get to see
Trading time for one more memory

Rode mountain trails where aspens twist and sway
Where Douglas Firs threw shadows deep and long
And columbines nod gently in the shade
Where canyon creeks made music all day long

I’ve been blessed to see a new life come to be
Helped a time or two when the birth was rough
And the mourning of a cow inspired me
When she lost a calf she never got to love


Been in the thick of things in the branding pen
Survived the swirling dust and kicking calves
Seen fine roping done by the best of quiet men
Each of us all giving all we have

Saddled up my horse in the pearly light of morn
Seen the last stars kiss the morning moon goodbye
Watched the eastern clouds greet the sun as it was born
The beauty and romance would make me sigh


I’m grateful for the chances given me
Tried to share it all with songs and poetry
Stretched the truth now if I had to
Sang my heart out and was glad to
Grateful for the chance to set you free
Grateful for the time you took for me.

© 2016, Mike Moutoux, used with permission

Find some of Mike Moutoux’s poetry and lyrics and more about him at CowboyPoetry.com; at his web site, mikemoutoux.com; and on Facebook.