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Highland Cowboys From the Hills of Scotland
to the American Wild West

Highland Cowboys

What drew Highlanders to the cowboy life ?
What problems did the Scots have to overcome to set up a new life ?
What did Scots do at the Battle of the Little Bighorn ?
What differences did the Scots find in the culture of the west ?
How did life in the Highlands prepare them for the life as a cowboy ?
How did the music develop and who else influenced the development of the old songs ?

From droving to driving, reivers to rustlers, heilan kye to long horns, Highland Cowboys explores the links between the two cattle cultures in music, song and dance, and folklore. The vast number of Scots who emigrated to North America has been well documented, whether through forcible eviction during the clearances of the 18th and 19th centuries or voluntarily in the hope of a better life. With them they took their culture, their language, their music and their skills. Cattle droving in Scotland was an established profession from the 16th century, and many such migrants took cowboy jobs in the American West. The medium of music paints a vivid picture of their social and personal lives and the exchange was not all one way. The music crossed and re-crossed the Atlantic creating strong links between the old culture and the new. Lonely men in strange surroundings found comfort in songs that reminded them of home. Highland Cowboys: From the Hills of Scotland to the American Wild West.


Scots In The USAScots In The USA. The map of the United States is peppered with Scottish place-names and America’s telephone directories are filled with surnames illustrating Scottish ancestry. Increasingly, Americans of Scottish extraction are visiting Scotland in search of their family history. All over Scotland and the United States there are clues to the Scottish-American relationship, the legacy of centuries of trade and communication as well as that of departure and heritage. The experiences of Scottish settlers in the United States varied enormously, as did their attitudes to the lifestyles that they left behind and those that they began anew once they arrived in North America. Scots in the USA discusses why they left Scotland, where they went once they reached the United States, and what they did when they got there. Scots in the USA.

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