“Little Joe the Wrangler's Sister Nell”

Author: unknown (sometimes credited to N. Howard Thorp, author of "Little Joe the Wrangler"; Thorp himself in 1934 credited it to Kenneth Clark, according to Logsdon)
Earliest date: 1934
Keywords: abuse orphan death stepmother cowboy derivative
Found in: US(MW,So)


The girl rides up to the cowboy's fire. She is looking for her brother Joe. The cowboys, reluctant to tell her that her brother is dead, listen to her sad story of a cruel stepmother. At last, seeing the brands on the cattle, she realizes the truth


This song is item dB36 in Laws's Appendix II. For background on authorship and such, see Logsdon 2, pp. 32-37, "Little Joe the Wrangle. - RBW

Cross references



  1. Randolph 204, "Little Joe the Wrangler's Sister Nell" (1 text)
  2. Thorp/Fife I, pp. 28-37 (9-11), "Little Joe, the Wrangler" (4 texts, 1 tune -- the "B" text being "Sister Nell")
  3. Ohrlin-HBT 69, "Little Joe the Wrangler's Sister Nell" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Roud #4049
  5. BI, R204