Little Joe the Wrangler

Little Joe the Wrangler is a classic American cowboy song, written by N. Howard "Jack" Thorp. It appeared in Thorp's 1908 Songs of the Cowboys, which was the first published collection of cowboy songs.[1] Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.[2]

The song is about a solitary orphan who is taken in by a group of cowboys and put to work at a man's job. Little Joe's life ends tragically when his horse suffers a fall during a stampede, crushing the young fellow beneath him. The song has been sung over and over in cow camps for over a century, and has been recorded by many Western singers.[3]


  1. ^ Thorp, N. (1921) Songs of the Cowboys, p. 96.: "'Little Joe, The Wrangler', by N. Howard Thorp. Written by me on the trail of herd of O Cattle from Chimney Lake, New Mexico, to Higgins, Texas, 1898. ... It was copyrighted and appeared in my first edition of Songs of the Cowboys, published in 1908.
  2. ^ Western Writers of America (2010). "The Top 100 Western Songs". American Cowboy. Archived from the original on 19 October 2010.
  3. ^ "Little Joe the Wrangler". Western Folklife Center. 2009-09-12. Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2014-07-04. Includes lyrics and links to the song being performed.