BRITCHES: Father and I Were Ranchers
by Ralph Moody
Ralph Moody was eight years old in 1906, when his family moved to Colorado.
When he was twenty-one, he wrote in a diary that he would work as hard
as he could to save $50,000 by the time he was fifty, and then write a book.
He began Little Britches on his 50th birthday! After reading of the character
-building hardships his family faced in settling in Colorado, it didn't surprise
me that he kept his word. He has an incredible life story; it will touch your
heart as you read it. Ralph Moody's books are excellent material for U.S. history
/ literature classes (teachers, take note!)
On the cover of Little Britches is the recommendation that Ralph
Moody's books "should be read aloud in every family circle in America."
To order Ralph Moody's
autobiographical novels, click below:
If you'd like to order more than one book in the series,
please click back to my page and go through each separate link, so I will receive
credit for the sales. Thank you so much.
No review can do this book justice. It's a gripping family
story from beginning to end, and the first of the series, so you must start
At 11 years old, Ralph becomes man of the family and an entrepreneur. He
continues his horse riding, cattle driving, and the Moodys start a cooking
business. The struggles of a family who refuses to rely on charity are enormous.
Then Mom gets a revelation about washing and stretching lace curtains...
This book repeats some experiences and adds new ones to the time period
of Man of the Family. We tried reading it after The Fields of Home,
but wanted to go forward, not back in time. We'll probably return when we've
finished the series and are crying for more.
In January, 1913, the Moodys must relocate, and go east to Medford, Massachusetts.
Mrs. Moody, a widow with six children, struggles to find a job and establish
their home. Ralph, at thirteen, is still a resourceful entrepreneur, but Mom
and Grace figure prominantly in this book. With much faith, perseverance,
and God's blessings, Mom (Mary Emma), Grace, and Ralph are living in a beautiful
home and running their own business by May of the same year.
Probably the most frustrating book of the series, about when Ralph moves
to Maine to work his grandfather's farm. Grandfather is not a very reasonable
man, to put it nicely. Hang in there readers, and the ending will be your
Ralph moves back west because of health reasons and becomes a movie stunt
"fall rider" and then an itinerant artist. He meets a friend, Lonnie,
who convinces him to buy his first car. The book has a surprise ending and
life lesson: don't keep your life savings in the cuff of your pants!
Ralph is thrown off a train in McCook, Nebraska, with only a dime in his
pocket, and is hired as a wheat pitcher. He discovers why his hateful share-cropper
employer travels to distant towns to find a crew. Fate intervenes, however,
and Ralph becomes the boss and leads his motley crew to succeed in more than
one business venture. As always, Ralph inspires loyalty and friendship in
the hired hands: Doc, a "medicine man" when he gets into the tanglefoot,
Gus and Lars, the Swedish workers with a hidden talent ("Yiminy, Dat
is Fun!"), and Paco, a young Mexican with the gift of understanding horses.
This last book is as good as the first of the Little Britches series. We
stood in awe of Ralph Moody's talents as an entrepreneur, his work ethic,
and his maturity in his early 20's. We also loved the characters in Beaver
Valley (which Ralph called the friendliest place on earth): Effie, the switchboard
operator who helps Ralph succeed in business by providing the farm wives'
point of view, and George Miner, a wise and respected farmer who becomes a
second father to Ralph. This book is an excellent business course; by the
end you will be interested in the hog and beef markets, and understand the
value of hard work and perseverance. You will also find out who Ralph marries!
Alas, the series is done, where do we `go from here? May I suggest books
by another cowboy: Will James. (1892-1942) He not only wrote many books, but
illustrated them as well.
A Newbery Medal book, written from the horse's point of view. The language
and grammar were difficult for me to adjust to; being a proofreader I wanted
to correct the verbs and spelling. However, it is a beautiful story and the
cowboy language is authentic...
Cowboys North and South (first published 1924) Click
here to order
Western Life, Horses, Cowboys, Rodeos, Trick Riding, Indians, Young Entrepreneur,
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