Englishman Frank Collinson went to Texas in 1872, when he was seventeen, to work on Will Noonan’s ranch near Castroville. He lived the rest of his life in the southwestern United States, and at the age of seventy-nine began writing about the Old West he knew and loved. He had a flair for writing, a phenomenal memory, and a passion for truth that is evident in what he wrote and said.
His writings for Ranch Romances, his letters, and transcriptions of his conversations have been arranged here in roughly chronological order, so that their importance for frontier history is readily apparent. Collinson ranged the West in his writings as he did in person, telling of the last tragic days of buffalo hunting on the Plains; clashes between hunters or cowboys and the Plains Indians; the character of trail drivers; and the definitive nature of violence, particularly at gun-point.
J. Frank Dobie said of Collinson: "In the realm of frontier chronicles, the writing of educated Englishmen. . . men with the perspective of civilization, with imagination, and a lust for primitive nature, stand out. To this class of men belongs Frank Collinson."