During the early 20th century the romanticized image of the cowboy lifestyle was on the rise. And it was during this period that Erwin E. Smith captured what really goes on behind the glorified view of being a cowboy.
The collection below was a result of Smith's intimate knowledge of the cowboy lifestyle and his natural artistic and photographic skills. The images, mostly taken between 1905 and 1912 in North Texas, are documentary as they are artistic.
The late 1900s were tough times for the cowboys, ranchers, farmers and just about anyone working with the land in the U.S.
Changing modes of production and food distribution, urbanization, and serious economic difficulties forced many to sell their land, go bankrupt, change professions, or take out large loans.