Adventurous, brave, tough, laconic–Attributes that conjure up men; manly men. They can also be applied to cowboys. Cowboys of legend and lore stem from the westward movement and settlement of the American frontier during the middle 1800s. They were of hardy stock. Had to be in order to survive. The plains in the 19th century was . . . just dirt. Luckily these men did not shy away from hard labor. Made their living off their ranch, they did. Might have robbed a few people to get it, but hey, its what tough guys gotta do sometimes. There are also, those honest to goodness ancestors who broke their back following the straight and narrow while carving a life out in the desert. However, they did settle down and built legacies to be proud of. Those cowboys tamed the West besides making it Wild. This post is in honor of those weather-beaten, hard working men who not only gave us their lives, but gave us a nation.
America during the 19th century was rustic at best, save for a few glittering gems of major cities along the East cost. It was quite the century! The Civil War, the abolition of slavery (in theory, anyways), Manifest Destiny, the California Gold Rush and the “new blood of nouveau rich” from the crazy industrial revolution happening at the time. Coming from the East Coast, “west” was a relative term. Anything beyond the mountain range was considered west, hence West Virginia and the Mid-Western states. Then the boundary meant anything West of the Mississippi River. Which, conversely, is the boarder of what modern Westerners use for “back East.”
Utilizing nothing but their wits, guns, lassos and a few other cowboy amenities, they staked their claim and set up the ranch. Cowboys were ranchers, usually of cattle, hence the name, but sometimes of horses, sheep, oxen, buffalo, etc. They encountered new dangers such as hostile Indian tribes, outlaws, local wildlife like coyotes and cougars, and sand storms unlike anything they have ever seen. Perhaps the most terrifying was the lack of female companionship! On the opposite hand, they discovered good things in the west. Like snake taste like chicken. There are peaceful and helpful Indian tribes who are willing to share their harvest on occasion or lead the way for a fee. Gold veins in California. The ladies would come later. They had work to do, as long as there was beef, beans, and booze; you would be amazed what these men could tough out.