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After The Cattle Drive: The story behind the art

It’s the end of the 1800s and cattle ranching is a good profession into which a young man can invest his life. This isn’t to say that it’s easy living. For months on end, the elements of outdoor nature pound brutally against him as he tries to make sure not a single head of cattle gets lost. Bathing infrequently in cold creeks, there is no time to shave and hygiene is a thing of the past. He brings with him the clothes on his back, something special to remember his family by and not much else.

Yet, when arriving at their destination, there is nothing a cowboy looks forward to more than buying a new set of clothes and taking a nice, long hot bath. You see, a cowboy usually only purchased new clothes once, after the end of every drive, discarding his old stinky, sweat stained clothes in exchange for a fresh pair.

Hot baths were a luxury—requiring hot water to be heated from a stove or fireplace and then meticulously poured into the tub, over and over, until full. Hot baths was one of the amenities a hotel or an inn could provide its patrons. And it wasn’t just cowboys who took advantage of the muscle relaxing soothing water, it was also gold miners and prospectors, ranchers and herders, farmers and bankers.

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