Ballads and Tales of the Frontier. - August 22, 1960 Issue

Exerpt from August 19, 1946 Life Magazine.

Folklore of America - Part 5

The frontier days of the last half of the 19th Century-crowded with the feats of wagon drivers and cowhands, bad men and shooting marshals, lumberjacks and miners—brought out the saltiest of all American folk tales. Bloody episodes, gruesome enough in fact, were daubed up in the retelling so that a single shooting became a massacre, worrisome incidents became miraculous escapes, light ladies became beauteous heroines. The stories exalted physical strength as well as the six-shooter. Steel workers and lumbermen joined the ranks of legendary heroes. But a growing sense of humor tempered the hardship and dangers of life on the exploding frontier and Americans began to have fun poking fun at one another. Towns competed in boasting that they had the biggest, the best-or the worst—of everything. Still fresh and funny, these exaggerations make a treasury of home-grown folk tales as broad and as varied as the land itself.

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