Everything you need to understand or teach The Jimmy-John Boss and Other Stories by Owen Wister.
"The Jimmy-John Boss" concerns a young man's rite of passage into manhood. Dean Drake, a slender youth of nineteen, is hired as a foreman to supervise an unruly band of cowhands at a remote cattle camp in the mountains.
His first challenge as foreman is to enforce a rule of temperance in the camp by forbidding liquor, stored in "demijohn" containers. The men obey his rule until Christmas festivities weaken their restraint. A drunken brawl ensues, and the outnumbered neophyte barely escapes with his life.
He returns, however, when the rebellion is over and shames the recalcitrant cowboys into submission. As a symbolic gesture of authority, he blasts the demon demijohn to pieces and forever gains the cowboys' loyalty.
"Hank's Woman" explores the sordid side of human nature, an innate brutality perhaps brought forth, as Wister explains, by a harsh and barren land: "I [began] to conclude, after...