A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this reality series -- which follows three real-life cowboy families, who operate three ranches in Montana -- provides a glimpse of a rarely-seen way of life, and while being a 21st century cowboy is clearly not easy, it can be very rewarding for people with the right temperament. The series will be interesting to anyone who ever dreamed of being a cowboy, and other than some graphic scenes of cows giving birth and some mild cussing, there’s very little that might concern parents.
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What's the story?
Being a cowboy is tough work, and very little has changed in the past century or two. Sure, pickup trucks and modern medicine have made some parts of the job easier, but for the ranchers in LAST AMERICAN COWBOY, managing a herd still means they might have to go out in a blizzard when they need to move the animals, and hoping that enough calves survive the winter. This fascinating reality series focuses on three Montana ranches and offers a detailed look at a way of life that is rarely seen today, from three very different perspectives. The traditional Stucky family manage 1,200 cows entirely from horseback, while the Galts have embraced technology, and even use a helicopter to keep track of their massive, 7,500-head herd. And the Hughes ranch is strictly a husband-and-wife operation, with the couple managing 500 cattle on their own.
Is it any good?
Last American Cowboy fits into what has rapidly emerged as a popular sub-genre of reality TV: the tough job series. These shows take viewers out into the field to get an inside look at what it’s really like to go fishing for crabs, wrestle alligators, or be a modern cowboy. All of these shows make it clear that these are difficult, often dangerous careers, and the inherent challenges usually make for dramatic TV.
The key to making one of these shows work is simply finding a job with which few people are familiar and will be interesting to a broad swath of viewers. Sandhogs? Ice Road Truckers? Unusual jobs, yes, but they have kind of a niche appeal. But what kid hasn’t dreamed about being a cowboy at some point? Last American Cowboy is certain to appeal to almost everyone, on some level, because it focuses on one of the enduring American fantasies.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about cowboys. How do you think the life of these modern cowboys is different from their counterparts a century or two ago? What has changed and what do you think has not?
Would you ever consider being a cowboy or cowgirl? What is the appeal? What kind of personality and training do you need to succeed?
The three ranches are run very differently. Do you think one style is better than another? Which one do you think is the best way to manage a huge herd of cows? How do these ranches reflect our society?