I Once Was a Cowboy explores wanderlust, the price of gritty, hard work and the simple beauty of working outdoors and with horses.
Art Hagen's story is an intimate portrayal of his years as a ranch hand in Alberta and BC, demonstrating a way of life from a time when neighbours and cowboys depended on each other for their livelihood and survival. It is not just the story of one person riding alone but of the comradeship of prairie settlers who would give a rover a meal and a bed for the night and ask nothing in return.
Hagen pulls readers into his poignant realization of his dreams of being a cowboy, at a time when the frontiers of BC and the West were still in their infancy and the rodeo was an extension of the daily life of the cowhand. This portrait of a Canadian cowboy is a window into the one of the last of the living ranch hands in this country. The myth of the cowboy is revealed by a real person who lived, struggled and helped to build the West one herd, one fence, one horse at a time.