In 1883, a young aristocratic Englishman seeks his fortune working as a cowboy in the American Wild West.
The Tenderfoot by Rupert Davies Cooke
The idea for the Tenderfoot began when I was shown a letter by my grandmother. It was written to my great-grandfather in 1920 by Boney Earnest, a Wyoming rancher. This angularly named gentleman had taught my great-grandfather the ranching business in the early 1880s.
Contrasting the American West of the 1920s with that of the 1880s, Boney Earnest writes in his very personal style, 'It seems there is nothing left in this country any more for a man to live for. The cattle have nearly all gon with the Game... All over that Country whare we killed the old Buffalo that poor old Karr took the photo of is all dotted over with Oil Derricks... There is automobiles by the hundreds running all over the Country whare, in those days, nothing could be seen but the gay and festive Cowboy and a bloodthirsty Indian looking for scalps...'
Not so in 1883 when 19-year-old Hugh Cooke landed in America. Cattle ranching in the western states of America was booming. Between 1860 and 188O the rush to buy land and cattle had spread like a fever. By 1883, within little more than 20 years, virgin land once roamed by herds of buffalo had become cattle and cowboy country.
Hugh's letters chronicle a transition from early innocence to young maturity, a transition from paid hand to employer of men and owner of property.
Rupert Davies Cooke, 2016
'The Tenderfoot' Promo Documentary 1993