NPR

'Aloha Rodeo' Offers Alternative To The Cowboy Cliché

Journalists David Wolman and Julian Smith chronicle the history of Hawaii's cattle trade and profile a number of "paniolos" — every bit as tenacious and resourceful as their mainland cohorts.
Aloha Rodeo: Three Hawaiian Cowboys, the World's Greatest Rodeo, and a Hidden History of the American West, by David Wolman and Julian Smith Source: William Morrow

Few vocations have been more revered in American popular culture — more romanticized — than that of the cowboy.

They ride purebred stallions through arid sagebrush flats and carry a six-shooter on both hips. They spit tobacco juice with scandalous accuracy. They wear long spurs and leather chaps and possess a moral compass rigid as their cast-iron skillets. They're also, apparently, white — or so the dime novels and spaghetti westerns would have us believe.

White and male and unquestionably American.

Those who earn their living raising cattle today are often the first to mock the showmanship of the Hollywood cowboy — the job is far too demanding for whimsy — but fewer

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