Chinese cowboys and ranch hands have worked in the West. One example is from the Stanislaus National Forest.
Since 1875, Cooper Cabin continues to serve as a rustic base camp for cattlemen and women. The Forest Service and cattle permittees have continued to maintain the cabin through the years, and the cabin has remained largely intact. In 1861, W.F. Cooper searched for summer pastureland for his cattle that supported the bustling Gold Rush economy of the time. He eventually settled in what is now known as the Emigrant Wilderness. Cooper and his employees built the original cabin in this meadow in 1865. The original cabin had rough, natural logs of irregular diameter and builders used the saddle corner technique. Ten years later, a more refined cabin was built, which is now known as Cooper Cabin. While building Cooper Cabin, craftsmen skillfully hand-hewn the logs into square timbers, and squared notched the ends. They carefully assembled the square timbers to form a weathertight seal. Since 1875, cowboys and cowgirls have been using Cooper Cabin as a rustic living space with no plumbing or electricity, and the original cabin adjacent to Cooper Cabin still serves as a storage building.
Since at least 1882, cowboys and cowgirls have been carving, burning, or writing their names on the wooden walls of Cooper Cabin. In one corner of the cabin written in pencil is:
Yee Xahee Ching
Lee Tai Bong
July 29, 1907
Claude Menendez, who started as a young cowboy at 14 years-old, wrote his fellow-coworkers name on the wall probably after asking how to phonetically pronounce their names.
Another example of a Chinese cowboy in the American West is Leong Goon Foon. Growing up as a child in China riding water oxen, Leong was very comfortable with western cattle. After immigrating to California in 1870 when he was 16, and later leaving for the southwest (possibly Arizona or Texas), a cattle rancher noticed Leong’s skills with cattle. Eventually, the cattle rancher hired Leong as a ranch hand. Leong became a skilled horseman, cattle rancher, and even an expert marksman with a pistol and rifle. With his cowboy boots and big hat, Leong, now 70, eventually returned to China in 1924 to his home village of Hou Chung Village to live out the rest of his life. Even in his old age, he used his marksman skills to defend his village against night-time marauders with his 2 six-shot revolvers, and continued to tell his adventures in the American West until he died at the age of 84.