“Horse that couldn’t be rode or a man that couldn’t be throwed" (1924 )

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Thu Mar 15 05:53:51 UTC 2007

Thanks, Wilson...Not in the Yale Book of Quotations. 
“There never was a horse that couldn’t be rode or a man that  couldn’t be 
throwed” (Will James)
"There never was a horse that couldn’t be rode or a man that couldn’t be  
throwed” is a bit of cowboy wisdom that’s been attributed to Will James  
(1892-1942), a cowboy artists and author who was popular in the 1920s and 1930s.  

_Wikipedia: Will James  (artist)_ 
Will James (1892-1942), artist and writer, was born  Joseph Ernest Nephtali 
Dufault, June 6, 1892 in Quebec province, Canada. It was  during his creative 
years everyone grew to know him as Will James. 

_Will James: Cowboy Artist and  Author_ 
A special exhibition at the Autry Museum ofWestern Heritage  explores the 
tragic and fascinating life of artist and author Will James. On  view in the 
Showcase Gallery from Oct. 3, 1997, through Jan. 4, 1998, Will  James: Cowboy 
Artist and Author provides a rare opportunity for visitors to  appreciate the 
artistic skills of the author of such American classics as Smoky  and 
Lone Cowboy. 

James’ work, which includes 25 beloved novels,  continues to appeal to a 
large audience who grew up reading his books and to new  generations of horse 
fanciers and cowboy fans. This intimate  presentation  draws on an unmatched 
collection of approximately 75 paintings and drawings  featuring the private 
collection of A.P. Hays, Paradise Valley, Arizona, as well  as first edition books, 
numerous early drawings and a newly acquired oil  painting from the museum’s 

James’ literary career began in  the early 1920s, when the lanky cowboy from 
Nevada sent an essay and  illustrations to Scribner’s New York offices. The 
easy-going, storytelling  quality of his 
writing, illustrated with his own drawings and paintings,  made for a winning 
combination that was quickly recognized by editor Maxwell  Evarts Perkins, 
who worked with Thomas Wolfe, Emest 
Hemingway and other  literary giants. James’ first novel, Smoky, won the 
Newbery Medal in 1927 as the  most significant contribution in American literature 
that year for children,  establishing his 
place as an enduring writer of note. All 25 of his books  are still in print. 

Born in Canada as Ernest Dufaut, James left home to  be a cowboy. Along with 
a new name, he manufactured a new identity, claiming  different parents and 
birth in Montana. Despite acclaim 
and success in the  literary world, his life was tragic. A brief prison term 
for rustling, a  tumultuous marriage and devotion to drink contributed to his 
untimely death in  1942 at age 50.  

_Do You Speak  American_ 
An outlaw; a horse that’s hard  to ride. A pungent old Western saying is “Ain
’t no horse that can’t be rode,  ain’t no man that can’t be throwed.” 
Blevins, Win. Dictionary of the  American West: Over 5,000 Terms and 
Expressions from AARIGAA! To ZOPILOTE.  Seattle: Sasquatch Books, 2001. 

7 October 1924, Modesto (CA) Evening  News, pg. 6, col. 5: 
Will James is a cowboy, but also he is an artist.  In his own cow-country 
vernacular and with his own sketches of bronchos and  steers and cow punchers, 
James has done an epic thing, in its way. He analyzes  his scenes and pictures 
them in the plain idiom of the people. There is no  attempt at false grand ge
sturing and his final philosophy is: “There never was a  horse that couldn’t be 
rode or a man that couldn’t be throwed.” The book is  “Cowboys North and 
South” (Scribners). 

4 January 1925, Helena (MT)  Daily Independent, pg. 16, cols. 1-3: 
The “Real Ornery,  Man-eating 
Can’t-be-Rode Bronco of West” 

4 April 1926,  Oakland (CA) Tribune, magazine section: 
“I’ve still got to see the  rider what couldn’t be throwed and the horse 
what couldn’t be rode.” 

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