"No. 7"—as Carpenter, the youngest of seven children, called himself—was born in Missouri in 1854 and moved west with his family, first to Kansas, then to the settlements near Pikes Peak, and finally, in 1872, to Texas with his elder brother. From the time he made his first cattle drive, he wanted no other life but that of herding longhorns across the free and flat grasslands of the West. His schooling was the trail, the campfire, the saddle. In 1900, after a full and active life, he retired to his own ranch west of the Pecos. As the years passed, he sadly watched the fences go up and the free range disappear. Thus this book came to be written from the longing memory of a time-stranded cowman. He tells his story in the hard-punching, gritty language, direct humor, and attachment to bald fact and frank opinion that characterize the true Westerner.
Elton Miles has provided an introduction that fills in the details of Carpenter's life and completes a "vivid picture of the genuine old-time cowman," as Southwest Review observed.