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Audio Recording Thibault & Nunn Saddlery, Miles City Montana, interview and sounds of saddle-making, part 2


About this Item


  • Thibault & Nunn Saddlery, Miles City Montana, interview and sounds of saddle-making, part 2


  • Johnson, Paula J., 1954- (Collector)
  • Toelken, Barre, 1935- (Collector)
  • Thibault, Dale (Interviewee)
  • Nunn, Lawton (Interviewee)

Created / Published

  • Miles City, Montana, August 11, 1979


  • -  Saddlery
  • -  Western saddles
  • -  Leatherwork
  • -  Folklore
  • -  Ethnography
  • -  Field recordings
  • -  Interviews
  • -  Sound recordings
  • -  United States -- Montana -- Miles City


  • Ethnography
  • Field recordings
  • Interviews
  • Sound recordings


  • -  Index data: Part 2 of a 4-part recording at the Thibault & Nunn Saddlery, Miles City MT, the fieldworkers' notes state that each man worked at a separate bench, Leighton Nunn was closer to the microphones (one cardioid, one hypercardioid), Dale Thibault farther away, as he worked on a saddle: sounds of Thibault and Nunn at work, at beginning, sound of drilling; Nunn talks about itinerant saddlemakers; old time shops had lots of pictures on the wall, lots of stuff hanging from the ceiling ("That's where were behind."); Nunn talks about cutting and fitting leather, working from a pattern toard a particular tree; about the development of square skirts; older Mexican saddles had no skirts at all; some skirts are so large that they'd take a long time to decorate; Coggshell never made saddles, he was just the financier; about harness repair; Nunn recalls riding many a mile for the Ft. Keogh Experiment Station [USDA Agriculture Research Service (ARS) rangeland beef cattle research facility, operated in cooperation with the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station]; about a young friend who came west with his family, broke his leg (about age 12), was left behind to heal and catch up, "Boy, he was a tough old bugger"; Thibault asks Nunn if he ever heard of the idea that a cows lies on one side all the time with the result that the hide on one side is tougher (everyone laughs), "I never followed one around that much"; about a fellow named Williams who told them story about a cow he found lying down, thought it was sick; found out it was just lying down behind a big fence post, trying to get out of the wind, down there the grass only gets a foot high, the wind tops it off; Nunn tells how in Nebraska they tie a log chain to the corner of the cabin, when she's sticking out, then the wind's a-blowing; Nunn recalls winter in Wyoming when it snowed heavily, then the wind came up and blew it all away, except for a rooster tail on the light pole; Nunn's brother was flying in Wyoming in a small plane, when they stopped in a wind storm, then when they started out again, even though the wheels were chocked, when the chocks were kicked out, the plane went 20 feet in the air; prices in the old days, the towm is safer and quieter now than in the old days; about the way people treat a new saddle; Thibault (at the bench) is installing a concho and strap used to tie up a small belt on the left side of the saddle, some call it a nigger-catcher but you have to be careful where you say that; concho to be fastened to a latigo; at this time, fieldworker Paula Johnson arrives, "better late than never"; Nunn jokes that all the stories have been told already, especially the one he would have not told in front of her, suggests she leave again while they pull the saddle leathers through, as Thibault is doing concurrently; Thibault and Nunn talk about using a "bleeder," a sharp knife that cut slits in the leather thongs, Thibault ties a particular knot that entails lacing through the slits in the laces themselves.


  • 7-inch reel

Call Number/Physical Location

  • Call number: AFC 1981/005: AFS 20459
  • MBRS shelflist: RXA 0945
  • Field project identifier: MT9-BT-R2

Source Collection

  • Montana Folklife Survey collection (AFC 1981/005)


  • American Folklife Center

Digital Id

Online Format

  • audio

Rights & Access

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Credit line: Montana Folklife Survey collection (AFC 1981/005), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Johnson, Paula J, Barre Toelken, Dale Thibault, and Lawton Nunn. Thibault & Nunn Saddlery, Miles City Montana, interview and sounds of saddle-making, part 2. Miles City, Montana, 1979. Audio.

APA citation style:

Johnson, P. J., Toelken, B., Thibault, D. & Nunn, L. (1979) Thibault & Nunn Saddlery, Miles City Montana, interview and sounds of saddle-making, part 2. Miles City, Montana. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Johnson, Paula J, et al. Thibault & Nunn Saddlery, Miles City Montana, interview and sounds of saddle-making, part 2. Miles City, Montana, 1979. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.