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Likely taken by Job V. Harrison near Rock Lake, N.D. 190?

[Detail] Likely taken by Job V. Harrison near Rock Lake, N.D. 190?

Symbolic Hero

By the last quarter of the nineteenth century, what had been buffalo range and Native American hunting ground in the Northern Great Plains had been turned into huge cattle ranches. The location of Theodore Roosevelt's celebrated ranch in North Dakota and the literary tradition he helped spark of rough riding cowboys are important legacies of this region. Students can search Theodore Roosevelt for images that provide evidence of this ranch and facilitate a discussion of the American symbol of the hardy frontiersman. Why would a president of Roosevelt's era want to identify himself with this image? How did Americans at this time identify a hero? To what extent is the symbol of the frontiersman based on reality and to what extent is it based on myth? To what extent is any given literary portrayal of frontier cowboys realistic or mythologized? Students may also want to see the Special Presentation of "Ranching" from the "North Dakota Historical Overview" or a list of American Memory resources for studying Theodore Roosevelt.