This Song About a Montana Cowboy is a True Story of the Past
One of the greatest things about music is the ability it has to tell a story. Some of the best songwriters are also the best storytellers.
Montana has a long history in the cattle industry due to its wide-open space and ranges, and Bob Fudge is one of Montana's most famous cowboys. He drove contract cattle herds from Texas to the Montana range. Throughout his life, he worked on many cattle ranches in Montana.
Bob Fudge lived in Montana when cowboys were king, as mentioned in the song Bob Fudge by Canadian singer-songwriter Ian Tyson. Fudge was a great storyteller and experienced quite a bit during his years as a cattleman.
Tyson's inspiration for the song came from a book about Bob Fudge titled Bob Fudge: Texas Trail Driver, Montana - Wyoming Cowboy 1862 - 1933. Author James Russell spent time with Bob Fudge in the early 30s and used notes from that time to write the book.
According to bobfudge.com,
Stories of life with the Indians, stampeding cattle herds, roundups and cowboys caring for their cattle as they trail them from Texas to the lush grasses of Montana territory along the Yellowstone range. There’s nail-biting excitement and danger around every bend, real true stories with lives lost.
Country artist Colter Wall also recorded a version of the song and performed it at the Red Ants Pants Music Festival in White Sulpher Springs in 2019.