“In the old days, the happy days, when Wyoming was a Territory with a future instead of a State with a past, and the unfenced cattle grazed upon her ranges by prosperous thousands, young Lin McLean awaked early one morning in cow camp, and lay staring out of his blankets upon the world. He would be twenty-two this week. He was the youngest cow-puncher in camp. But because he could break wild horses, he was earning more dollars a month than any man there, except one. The cook was a more indispensable person. None save the cook was up, so far, this morning. Lin’s brother punchers slept about him on the ground, some motionless, some shifting their prone heads to burrow deeper from the increasing day. The busy work of spring was over, that of the fall, or beef round-up, not yet come. It was mid-July, a lull for these hard-riding bachelors of the saddle, and many unspent dollars stood to Mr. McLean’s credit on the ranch books…”
So begins Lin McLean, the 1898 novel by Owen Wister (1860-1938), a writer best known as the author of The Virginian.
The story of “A Journey in Search of Christmas” is a part of Lin McLean. It was published by Harper & Brothers as a separate book in 1904, illustrated by Frederic Remington.
Find the complete text of that story and the illustrations at CowboyPoetry.com.