Above ground they lived in communities like Cripple Creek, Goldfield, Bisbee, and Leadville, communities that were western and yet urban. There they faced the rigors of a rugged climate, frontier scarcities, and ramshackle housing. But they relieved their hardships with their own brands of entertainment: rock-drilling contests that were to the miner what rodeos were to the cowboy; practical jokes like shivarees, snipe hunts, and social gatherings, picnics, and special celebrations.
Drawing extensively on contemporary sources, Ronald C. Brown provides the first thorough study of the daily lives and work of hard-rock miners of Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and Nevada in the period 1860 to 1920. He carefully documents his argument that, though it initially made mining more dangerous, ongoing industrialization benefited miners by opening more jobs and, in the long run, by eliminating preindustrial dangers.
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Published by Texas A&M University Press