The figure of the cowboy looms large in the American imagination, his lasso pulling our gaze toward the mythos of the once unbounded and ungoverned west. At the turn of the century, curiosity about lonesome ranchers lured the photographer Erwin E. Smith to the Southwest, where he documented their lives, capturing the wide open spaces of their days, the dusty landscapes that are dotted with cattle flowering beneath the horizon line. The resulting photos, on display in this virtual exhibition, are as alluring as any Western. They have a true grit that adds gravity to the eyes of the cowboys. —C.J.F.