May 05, 2006

Texas Ranch House, we hardly knew ye

Texas Ranch House has ended. I admit that I was sucked into it. You see, I worked for the Cookes, in a way, only the surname was different and the business was publishing, not ranching. By the show's end, I was thinking, "It's Lady MacCooke."

When all the cowboys left angry and joined the Industrial Workers of the World, I was not surprised at all.

OK, I made the last part up. The IWW was not formed until 1905, and the show was set in 1867. (A sort of shadow IWW still exists.) But as someone once said, "A cowboy is just a factory worker on horseback."

The Cookes' problem, aside from poor gardening and an ungenerous spirit, was that they did not know where to set their boundaries as ranch owners. Sometimes they wanted their hands to be surrogate sons, and sometimes they treated them like peons. And then they were shocked! shocked! when the panel of judges told them that their ranch would have failed in real life.

I always had the feeling that Bill Cooke felt handicapped because he could not just project a PowerPoint presentation on the bunkhouse wall and explain all his goals in purest corporate-speak.


Anonymous said...

Velhos tempos meu amigo,velhos tempos.Hoje temos de nos contentar com a modernidade e as suas consequencias.Quantas vezes desejamos regressar a esse tempo onde tudo era simples e puro.

colet1499 said...

A spot-on response to the management problems of the Texas Ranch House. I watched the last episode with many of the same feelings you expressed. I too havfe had the unfortunate experience of working for people like the Cooke's. I'd be interested in your views of Bill Cooke's position toward Jared's horse. Cooke believed he bought this horse (along with 3 others) for 25 head of cattle (I think that was the deal). Jared felt he and the horse were a team that was captured and subsequently released by the kindness of the Comanches (since Cooke refused to trade for him). The question: was the horse Jared's or not? Jared had a good point about Cooke buying stolen goods if he were to accept his argument. How do you suppose a real 19th century ranch owner would view it?

Chas S. Clifton said...

When I watched the episode with Comanche, I thought that in 1867, the conversation would have gone like this.

Robby: Those Comanches got Jared and the horses, but there's only three Indians.

Mr. Cooke: Get your guns, boys, we're going after them!

But obviously that was not in the 21st-century script. So, whose was the horse?

I suspect that a real 19th-century rancher who wanted to keep his cowboys' goodwill would not have made Jared buy the horse at full price all over again.

Grateful Jared might, however, have offered to perform some extra service for the ranch.

That is how I would like to think that it would have played out, but I don't really know.

Anonymous said...

I think a real 19th century rancher would have been angry that his top hand rode right up to a Comanche village to say "Howdy." As the narrator says, the men both would have been tortured and killed in "the good old days."

The cost of the horse should have been deducted from the top hand's pay. Jared was responsible only for following the stupid order of his immediate boss.

A sensible person would have known that it would be better to let the Comanche approach the ranch if they wanted to trade. If they just passed on without contact, good enough.