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Film, Video Selling Cattle (ca. 1950)

About this Item


  • Selling Cattle (ca. 1950)


  • Stewart, Leslie J. (Narrator)
  • Stewart, Leslie J. (Interviewer)

Created / Published

  • ca. 1950


  • -  Ninety-Six Ranch
  • -  Activities
  • -  Cattle selling
  • -  Cattle inspection
  • -  Ethnography
  • -  Motion Pictures


  • Ethnography
  • Motion Pictures


  • -  Rights: The Stewart family shares this film under a Creative Commons attribution license ( External).
  • -  Excerpt from Les Stewart's film, "Fall,” (ca. 1950) which documents the mechanics of selling cattle at season’s end. Les’s narration was recorded on July 7, 1982, by Margaret Purser and Carl Fleischhauer. Prior to the scenes shown here, the rancher and a buyer negotiate a price expressed in cents per pound or dollars per hundredweight. Then, as shown, the cattle are weighed and loaded onto trucks to travel to a feedlot, and the rancher is paid. The animals are weighed early in the morning before they are allowed to drink; the buyer doesn't want to pay for excess fluid. The buyer who made the purchase shown here was Clarence Landson; Les said he was a freelance "order buyer" who earned a dollar a head for his work. Selecting the right moment to sell a crop calls for a combination of judgment and luck. The year's income derives from this sale, and markets are always uncertain; the outcome of the event will determine an operation's profit or loss. This scene, therefore, represents the denouement of the rancher's annual "story." It is characteristic of Les's narrative sensibility to have filmed this scene. Other aspects of Les's sensibility are revealed by certain details of the film: the whimsical opening, the anti-government tableau, and the thoughts about Native Americans. Running the film in reverse created the humorous opening scene of Les’s father Fred Stewart "receiving the market report by air mail." Les photographed his father tearing up a newspaper and tossing it into the wind. In reverse, pieces of the newspaper seem to float into Stewart's hands. Les shares an anti-government stance with many of his neighbors, and the check-passing scene in this film footage expresses his reservations about taxes and government spending. Bill Johnson, another order buyer, played the Internal Revenue Service agent. Les said he had planned to shoot a closing scene in which the tax collector drives away in a Cadillac. Northern Paiute people from the Fort McDermitt Indian Reservation have worked on the ranch from its earliest days. The Indians seen in the final scenes of this film include Albert Skedaddle, Donald Dave, and Arthur Horn. When reviewing this footage, Les mused that all the men had died, and recalled hearing that Skedaddle's father had been living in the valley when Les's grandfather and other white settlers arrived. Other persons seen in the film include Gus Ramasco and Jimmy Angus moving steers onto the scales, and truck driver Emmett Delong and brand inspector Clyde Foster at the chute pushing cattle onto the trucks. The brand inspector is present at a sale to certify the seller's rightful ownership of the cattle by checking their brands.


  • 16mm film

Call Number/Physical Location

  • AFC 1991/021: NV-VDP-VT10

Source Collection

  • Paradise Valley Folklife Project Collection (AFC 1991/021)


  • American Folklife Center

Digital Id

Online Format

  • video

Rights & Access

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The Buckaroos in Paradise collection includes copy photographs of numerous historical still photographs, works of art, and other objects that are owned by the families or individuals identified in bibliographic records for those objects. The collection also includes audio and video interviews with individuals who consented to the inclusion of these selections here.

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Credit line

Paradise Valley Folklife Project collection, 1978-1982 (AFC 1991/021), 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:

Stewart, Leslie J, and Leslie J Stewart. Selling Cattle. 1950. Video.

APA citation style:

Stewart, L. J. & Stewart, L. J. (1950) Selling Cattle. [Video] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Stewart, Leslie J, and Leslie J Stewart. Selling Cattle. 1950. Video. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.