Many people have said there’s a gigantic hole in Western US studies/histories. Outside of the realm of “Mormon Studies” very few scholars or historians want to touch Latter-day Saints (except for polemical reasons – Jon Krakauer and Sally Denton have tackled “Mormons”, but for polemical and intellectually suspect reasons).
I’ve noticed this as well. In a book I reviewed for the AML many years ago Class and Race in the Frontier Army, the only real mention of Utah was the Salt Lake Tribune objecting to a Black army officer on fairly racist grounds. “Mormons” as such are barely acknowledged.
Similarly, there are few Cowboy or Western songs about Mormons; “The Mormon Cowboy” is one happy exception. However, I have recently discovered an artist that does fill this gap: Stan Bronson (a chance find – I bought a copy of his CD “Songs of Old San Juan” at Deseret Industries). There’s not a lot of information on him online, but while he’s apparently a member of the Church, his songs are not celebratory or faith-affirming as you might expect from a regional artist aimed mostly at the LDS and/or intermountain west audience. “Bishop of Old San Juan” comes the closest to a “faith affirming” song, but other songs (such as “Cowboys, Indians, and Mormons”) acknowledge a darker side to the history of Mormons in the West.
I don’t have much more to say, or anything profound. Just putting Stan Bronson’s name out there for those unaware of him. Hopefully more awareness of him can help start filling that hole in Cowboy/Western music.