Breedloves's Folk Songs



“Red River Valley” is a folk song and cowboy music standard of controversial origins
that has gone by different names—e.g., “Cowboy Love Song”, “Bright Sherman Valley”,
“Bright Laurel Valley”, “In the Bright Mohawk Valley”, and “Bright Little Valley”—
depending on where it has been sung. There is anecdotal evidence that the song was
known in at least five Canadian provinces before 1896. This finding led to speculation
that the song was composed at the time of the Wolseley Expedition to the northern Red
River Valley of 1870 in Manitoba. It expresses the sorrow of a local girl or woman
(possibly a Métis, meaning of French and aboriginal origin) as her soldier/lover prepares
to return to Ontario. The song and tune have been used in numerous films. It was
particularly memorable in John Ford‘s The Grapes of Wrath, whose tale of displaced
Oklahomans associated it with the southern Red River. Garrison Keillor often performs
the song on his popular radio show, A Prairie Home Companion. It is often sung by the
Sons of the Pioneers.
From this valley they say you are leaving
We shall miss your bright eyes and sweet smile
For you take with you all of the sunshine
That has brighten our pathway a while
Come and sit by my side if you love me do not hasten to bid me adieu
Just remember the Red River Valley and the cowboy that loved you so true
For a long time my darling
I’ve waited for the sweet words you never would say
Now at last all my fond hopes have vanished
for they say that you’re going away
Then come and sit by my side..

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