COWBOY CULTURE


Most of the current Cowboy Culture that is known to us is a great romanticized view of the Western US. The western lands were very appealing, but, the figure of the cowboy was transformed from a low payed worker to a powerful and enduring figure of the myth in the United States.


ORIGINS OF THE COWBOY
The cowboys were usually young, unmarried men, mostly white, but including many African Americans. Most of them later settled down, but many agreed with the former cowboy Charles Goodknight, who wrote years later, "All in all, my years on the trail were the happiest I ever lived...but there were many hardships and dangers...but when all went well, there was no other life so pleasant." These cowboys were ranchers who generally started to make fame by participating in the famous long drive, where it provided cattle for the eastern and western markets, but more importantly, created communities of men who spent much of their lives on the trail, working on tending these cattle. The long drive was a huge trail, or known as the Chisholm Trial, that cut across the middle of the United States, where the cowboys would move and track the cattle to the eastern/western borders, to provide for the increasing demand in beef, as the American standards rose.
WWcowboys.jpg A cowboy participating in the Long Drive goodnite.jpg Charles Goodknight


Myth, or Reality?
The reality and life of the Cowboy was actually very tiresome, tedious, lonesome, physically uncomfortable from the long hours of riding, and relatively few possibilities for advancement with their lives. However, the romanticized image of the Americans saw that the cowboys were very rambunctious, and amazing, thrilling-lived people, who were the leading people on the Western frontier. Therefore, the cowboy had become the most widely admired popular hero in America, and a powerful and enduring symbol of the important American ideal of the natural man. The author, Owen Wister, wrote, The Virginian (1902), that would romanticize the freedom the the moving cowboys, and the absence of general social constraints. Soon after this happened, the Americans would value and Romanticize the very shepherds that would bring them their supply of cattle. Many magazines, pulp novels, theater, and serious literature would be affected by the presence of the cowboy.
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They typical cowboy would wear the wide brim had to shield themselves from the sunlight, while cattle kicked up clouds of dust on the drive, and the usual bandanna covering half their faces. The Chaps, would be worn as leggings and high boots to protect themselves from the briars and cactus needles. The cowboys were viewed with intense and highly skilled marksman; however, this was a myth. Also, not many people were the typical, young, white, free-spirited people viewed in many photographs. Many of the cowboys were from African-American decent, and also included some Mexicans. Also, the view of the LONE COWBOY was also a myth. the cattle were driven in groups of drovers, and would be using teamwork to keep control of the cowboys. Also, the work was very difficult, with a general 15 hour work day, where much of their times were spent in the sattle. They even had to fight off Indian invasions, and cattle rustlers, who stole their steers. Also, the stampede that would often occurred was feared, as many cowboys would be killed or seriously injured during the process
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One of the most Romanticized and admired cowboy was buffalo bill, where many cowboys were hired to kill off the cattle they had once driven across the United States. The cowboys domain was relatively short, as the railroads began to dominate the trails that the cowboys used to move their cattle. Thus, the cowboys would sometimes be hired to kill the cattle that roamed onto the trails where trains passed. Much of the view of the cowboy was romanticized, but was a great way that American culture was defined and made as the era of the cowboy passed.
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