AcademiaAgriculture & FarmingHumanitiesSocial SciencesSTEM

Top Ten Interesting and Fun Facts About the Wild West and Cowboys

Updated on January 24, 2017
stuff4kids profile image

Amanda is a retired educator with many years of experience teaching children of all ages and abilities in a wide range of contexts.

What made the Wild West so Wild? Image courtesy of iaodesigns / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
What made the Wild West so Wild? Image courtesy of iaodesigns / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
 Robert Conrad as James T. West from the television program The Wild Wild West.
Robert Conrad as James T. West from the television program The Wild Wild West. | Source

Where Was the Wild West?

The Wild West can be defined by both time and place. Geographically, it was the area of the United States to the west of the Mississippi River.

Historically, it was the period in the latter half of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth.

There was, some time before the outbreak of Civil War, a common expansionist political doctrine known as Manifest Destiny.

Promoted by the United States government, the idea was that it was an inevitable and divinely ordained movement to claim and settle the lands westward.

So we are looking at the land between the Mississippi and the Pacific Ocean. Here's a map:

The Wild West

show route and directions
A markerMississipi -
Mississippi, USA
get directions

Mississippi marked the eastern most frontier of the Wild West.

B markerPacific Coast -
East Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach, CA, USA
get directions

The Pacific Coast marked the western most reaches of the Wild West.

What Made the West So Wild?

Well, the expansion into the west was no easy undertaking. The pioneers driving the expansion were often faced with extreme hardship, for one thing. For another, the westward movement was not by any means a peaceful one. The settlers forced their way to the Pacific by driving the Native Americans from their lands.

'The Wild West' An oil painting on canvas by Albert Beirstadt (1830 - 1902) now housed in the Newhouse Galleries, NY.
'The Wild West' An oil painting on canvas by Albert Beirstadt (1830 - 1902) now housed in the Newhouse Galleries, NY. | Source

The culture that developed in this harsh and violent environment led to violence, a break-down in law and order and a daily struggle for survival in the early days. The ongoing tensions between natives and settlers which ultimately resulted in the Indian Wars, with heavy loss of life on both sides and finally the genocide of many entire tribal populations, made the west a pretty wild place.

In this dangerous landscape, people developed a new philosophy which still holds fast in much of the west today, that everyone had a right to bear arms and defend their newly-claimed property to the death.

The larger part of hostility was between the natives and the settlers - a fact which is not only historically accurate but has been enshrined in any number of 'westerns' or 'Cowboys and Indians' books and movies.

Texas cowboy by Stanley L. Wood (1866-1928), English illustrator.
Texas cowboy by Stanley L. Wood (1866-1928), English illustrator. | Source

Top Ten Facts About the Wild West

So, that's a bit of historical and geographical context. Now, let's take a look at the top ten facts:

A Topographic relief map of the 19th century California Gold Rush mining regions.
A Topographic relief map of the 19th century California Gold Rush mining regions. | Source

1. There's Gold in Them There Hills!

So the westwards expansion was finally completed with the settling of what is now California.

And if the settlers were happy at first just to have arrived safely on the beautiful shores of the Pacific, they were not destined to settle down and enjoy the peace. Oh, no.

In 1848, a discovery was made in California which initiated a wild, madcap rush of even more people to the West. The discovery was gold.

Driven by the desire for easy riches, close to 175, 000 people crossed over from the east to the west, prospecting for gold.

Some found gold and became wealthy. Others lost everything in the effort. There's no doubt, however, that 'the gold' rush' as it became known, remains one of the most extraordinary moments in western history.

This was also the period of the long wagon trails, with people migrating along the Oregon Trail to buy the land which had been acquired after the massacre of the native populations.

The Gold Rush

2. Wagons Roll!

Many settlers also travelled westward along the Oregon Trail, which stretched from Independence in the east, all the way to what is now Oregon City in the west.

It was a long, hard journey and while many folks made it across the country, many died on the way. They either succumbed to illness or exhaustion or otherwise were killed in conflicts with Native Americans defending their land and buffalo from what they must have seen as the plague of white, European expansion.

It is this movement along the Oregon Trail that is the origin of all those images of the wagon trails that we have grown up with in the western movies.

A Home on Wheels

A typical covered wagon of the kind used to cross the Great Plains by white settlers.
A typical covered wagon of the kind used to cross the Great Plains by white settlers. | Source

The Oregon Trail

show route and directions
A markerIndependence -
Independence, MO, USA
get directions

B markerFort Bridger -
Fort Bridger, WY, USA
get directions

C markerFort Boise -
1st & Fort, Boise, ID 83702, USA
get directions

D markerOregon City -
Oregon City, OR, USA
get directions

3. Who Were the Cowboys?

Sometimes we are tempted to talk about cowboys in the past tense. Of course, that is really a mistake as there are still plenty of real ones around today.

Even so, the cowboys of the nineteenth century lived a different lifestyle than the modern ones.

Real Cowboys

Real cowboys with a girl and a dog in Converse County, Wyoming; costume includes suspenders, bandanas, leather chaps, a pistol, holster, and ammunition belt. They are identified as: "Tom Black" "Chas Mayo" "Tex Biddick" and "Neal Hart a
Real cowboys with a girl and a dog in Converse County, Wyoming; costume includes suspenders, bandanas, leather chaps, a pistol, holster, and ammunition belt. They are identified as: "Tom Black" "Chas Mayo" "Tex Biddick" and "Neal Hart a | Source

The cowboys we think of when we think of the Wild West started out as cattle herders who followed the imported Spanish style of ranching.

The herds were huge, replacing the slaughtered buffalo and many thousands strong. The land, however, was arid and hard and so the cattle had to roam, as the native buffalo once had, for many miles to find enough food and water.

The cowboy's job was to follow the herds on horseback, to manage and care for the cattle and to drive them back to the ranch for slaughter.

The cowboys were often away from home for many weeks at a time. They lived rough, camping out under the stars and surviving largely on a diet of beans, dried meat and coffee brewed in a 'billy can' over the fire.

It was a hard life and sometimes a lonely one but has also given rise to some wonderful songs and stories that are still sung and told today.

Cowgirl and cowboy on horseback, Newton, Kansas, 1908.
Cowgirl and cowboy on horseback, Newton, Kansas, 1908. | Source

4. Cowboy Clothes and Lifestyle

Cowboy clothes were designed to be tough and warm. They had to withstand rough treatment in harsh conditions and still be comfortable as a cowboy might wear them without a change for weeks at a time.

The typical western outfit was denim jeans with leather covers known as 'chaps' which helped to protect the cowboy's legs.

As he would often ride through the baking heat and dust of the desert or the plains, cowboys also wore wide-rimmed hats called 'Stetsons' to protect them from the glare of the sun. They would also have a large neckerchief that they would tie around their necks and pull up to protect their nose and mouth from the dust of the cattle trail.

The famous Stetson hat, which many cowboys still wear today, would also double up as a drinking bowl for both the cowboy and his horse.

The cowboys always carried guns, both rifles and pistols, to protect themselves from natives, bandits and cattle rustlers and to protect the cattle from attacks by wolves and cougars.

We have said 'he' but the truth is that there were also cowgirls. It's true that there were not so many of them as there were cowboys but it should be mentioned that the cowgirls did exactly the same work as the cowboys.

Clothes for Cowboys

5. The Western Saloon

The cowboys and girls worked very hard, as you can imagine and when they landed in a town to rest for a few days, they would often head to the local saloon.

In the saloon, they would pass the time drinking beer and whiskey, often to the point of extreme drunkenness. Gambling was also rife and there were often women who offered physical comforts in exchange for money or drink.

Violence would frequently break out in these saloons of the wild west and arguments were often resolved in shoot-outs. The Sheriff, whose only real authority was often the strength of his own personality and his ability to gain popular support, had a tough time trying to maintain law and order.

Saloons of The Wild West

6. Gunslingers

We've all heard of the famed 'gunslingers' of the wild west and who doesn't remember any number of scenes in the movies when the good guy and the bad guy finally meet in the dusty, deserted street of a western town, pacing slowly towards each other, fingers poised over their holstered guns, survival dependent on being the fastest draw?

Poster - Jesse James - Directed by Henry King - 1939
Poster - Jesse James - Directed by Henry King - 1939 | Source

It's interesting that the handgun known as a revolver (and often referred to by its manufacturer's name as a 'Colt') was not actually invented or produced until 1836.

The gun was invented by Samuel Colt and was a revolutionary design in its day. The revolver was so called because it had a revolving barrel that could be loaded with six bullets and each bullet fired in rapid succession. That's also why you'll have heard the guns referred to as 'six-shooters.'

Before Colt's invention, each bullet had to be loaded and fired separately.

The rapid-firing Colt revolver was a fast and dangerous weapon. Cowboys commonly wore two of the guns, one strapped to the left thigh and one to the right in a tough leather pocket known as a holster.

7. The Pony Express, the Telegraph and the Railroad

The rapidly expanding occupation of North America by European settlers brought with it a new tide of invention and endeavor in the development of communications.

Frank E. Webner, Pony Express rider, taken in 1861.
Frank E. Webner, Pony Express rider, taken in 1861. | Source

It soon became necessary to be able to convey messages and information quickly across the vast distances of the new continent.

The first of these was The Pony Express.

This service operated for eighteen months and began in 1860. During that time, almost fifty letters and three newspapers were taken on horseback from Missouri to California. That's a distance of 1,980 miles. The horses were driven hard and fast and so both mount and rider where changed over at 12 mile intervals.

It sounds slightly insane today but at the time it was very effective, reducing the time it took to cross from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast to just ten days.

The Pony Express

Back in 1837, Samuel Morse had invented his famous 'electrical telegraph' which used a device to tap out a series of long and short electrical signals that came to be known as 'Morse Code' and that could then be transmitted through wire cables for many miles.

Once the cable infrastructure was in place, the new 'telegrams' soon took over from the old Pony Express and a vast network of rapid communications spread across the entire country.

The Invention of the Telegraph

If the telegraph enabled information to be transferred almost instantly from coast to coast, the development that would transform the country forever was the laying down of the railroads.

Samuel F. B. Morse, co-inventor of the telegraph. Photograph taken sometime between 1865 and 1880
Samuel F. B. Morse, co-inventor of the telegraph. Photograph taken sometime between 1865 and 1880 | Source

With the advent of the railroads, not only information but now people, livestock, fuel and goods of all kinds could be transported in bulk across vast distances.

The first railroad to cross the continent from east to west was built between 1863 and 1869, stretching from Iowa to California.

Nothing else had such an impact on the American west as the railroads. New towns rapidly sprang to life along their lengths and the ability to transport timber and stone across the vastness of the plains led to ever faster expansion and development.

Native Americans might well have looked down on the steaming, noisy, clanking heat of the unstoppable iron engines that now drove across their lands and perhaps realised that not only was their culture drawing towards it end but the very nature of the land they had roamed for thousands of years was to be changed forever.

The Railroads of The Wild West

8. The Wild West Show

It wasn't long before the emerging culture of what was to become modern America began to mythologise itself.

In 1883 a man by the name of William Cody but known to the world as 'Buffalo Bill' presented the first Wild West Show.

An 1899 poster of Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World
An 1899 poster of Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World | Source

The wild west show was a mixture of a theatrical presentation and a kind of circus. Mock re-enacted battles between 'indians' and 'cowboys' were staged. The native people, of course, were always presented as vicious savages and the cowboys as noble heroes. In part, the wild west shows - which soon became hugely popular and were imitated across the nation - served as a propaganda machine to support the continued genocide and expansion of the European occupation of North America.

 "Buffalo Bill's Wild West" show programme, featuring "Col. W. F. Cody," printed at South Brooklyn, New York. Image courtesy of the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University.
"Buffalo Bill's Wild West" show programme, featuring "Col. W. F. Cody," printed at South Brooklyn, New York. Image courtesy of the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University. | Source

There were also demonstrations of prowess at horseback riding, shooting and rope skills.

As there were cowgirls as well as cowboys there were several women who also performed in these shows. The most famous is Annie Oakley, known as 'the peerless lady wing-shot.'

In many ways, the wild west shows of the nineteenth century were the forerunners of the 'westerns' of the movie and TV age, in which the mythology of the gunslinging outlaw and the 'cowboys and indians' conflict was further developed.

Little wonder then that in our popular culture we now consider real life outlaws such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Jesse James and Billy the Kid as folk heroes rather than the lawless criminals they probably really were.

Buffalo Bill and The Wild West Show

9. The Fate of the Native Americans

Before the invasion of white European settlers, many traditional tribal cultures lived out on the Great Plains. Their lifestyle was largely nomadic, as they followed the herds of buffalo, hundreds of thousands strong, on which they depended for their food, clothing and homes.

The Trail of Tears

Map of the route of the Trails of Tears — the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans from the Southeastern United States between 1836 and 1839. The forced march of Cherokee removal from the Southeastern United States for forced relocation to the Indian
Map of the route of the Trails of Tears — the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans from the Southeastern United States between 1836 and 1839. The forced march of Cherokee removal from the Southeastern United States for forced relocation to the Indian | Source

While the native peoples had established a sustainable relationship with these herds, the settlers slaughtered them indiscriminately. In part, they also used them for meat and for their hides but there was also a policy to destroy the buffalo in order to starve the native people into submission and drive them onto the 'reservations.'

Even before the domination of the railroad, the buffalo were being killed and the natives forced onto the reservations, which were the poorest land and frequently overcrowded, allowing no possibility of them continuing their traditional lifestyle.

Many natives refused to go quietly.

In 1868, a band of Sioux warriors who had acquired rifles as weapons, launched a series of attacks on white strongholds. These forts were being constructed to protect prospectors and their families following the Bozeman Trail to the western gold mines.

The warriors did considerable damage and killed 81 soldiers. The Bozeman Trail followed more ancient trails traditional to the native tribes.

But the struggle to defend their land was finally lost and the invading forces took control. It was the end of an era. The invaders would later, using the labor of enslaved Africans, change the face of America forever.

General George Custer (1839 to 1876)

10. Battle of Little Bighorn and Custer's Last Stand

So to the final fact, which is known as Custer's Last Stand at the Battle of Little Bighorn.

This has become an iconic moment in the history of the Wild West and in many ways symbolizes the end of that period of the blood-stained history of our invasion of these lands known as 'The Wild West' and the beginning of the new era of modern America.

General George Custer led his regiment of soldiers into the Black Hills of Dakota in 1874. The area was then a Native reservation. However, Custer and his men saw that the tribes wore ornaments made from glittering, yellow metal: gold.

"The Custer Fight" by Charles Marion Russell. Lithograph. Shows the Battle of Little Bighorn, from the Indian side.
"The Custer Fight" by Charles Marion Russell. Lithograph. Shows the Battle of Little Bighorn, from the Indian side. | Source

As word got out, the pact of reservation was broken as hordes of settlers came to the land to prospect for the precious metal.

In rebellion against this breach of the agreement, the native people left the reserved areas and made a war pact with the great warrior-leaders, Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.

General George A. Custer

Portrait of General George Armstrong Custer taken in the year of his death, 1876.
Portrait of General George Armstrong Custer taken in the year of his death, 1876. | Source

Custer ordered them back to the reservation by the end of February that year. Understandably, they ignored this order.

A band of warriors from the Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho people attacked Custer and his regiment at the now famous Battle of Little Bighorn. General Custer made his last stand at that battle, as both he and all his 225 soldiers were killed to a man.

But this was to be the final small victory in a war already lost by the native people and within a few short years of this tragic event, the Buffalo had been slaughtered; the tribal people that remained, dispersed and contained on the reservations.

The period of 'The Wild West' was drawing to an end and the new era of modern America was about to begin.

Wild West Quiz


view quiz statistics

A Last Word

I hope you enjoyed these top ten facts about The Wild West.

Before you go, you might like to try your hand at the quiz opposite to test just how much you really know.

While it's fun and exciting on the one hand to think of the old style cowboy life and times in the romantic way of the old movies, it's also a period of history that raises some difficult questions for us today.

Do you think you would have liked to have lived during the time of the wild west? How do you think our perception of the events of the period may have changed over time?

What do you think?

Chief Seattle's Testimony

© 2014 Amanda Littlejohn

Have something to say? Say it here...

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      This is filled with entertaining and educational historical information. A big thumbs up and more for your thoroughness. Great writing and research.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      If I could pick one period of American history to live in, this would be the period. I have always had a love affair with the old west.....of course, the life expectancy was about twenty, which is a bit of a downer. LOL

      Nice summary my friend....I need to go saddle up and get busy.

      bill

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      From a little girl I have always loved the cowboys and Indians; yes you have guessed right I was always such a tomboy. This great hub was a treat and I vote up without a single doubt.

      Wishing you a great weekend.

      Eddy.

    • stuff4kids profile image
      Author

      Amanda Littlejohn 3 years ago

      Hi FlourishAnyway

      I'm so glad you liked this article about the wild west and cowboys. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Bless you :D

    • stuff4kids profile image
      Author

      Amanda Littlejohn 3 years ago

      Hi Bill,

      Thanks for your contribution. I don't know that I would have relished living in those times. I might have found the conflicts far too difficult to reconcile.

      Thanks for your contribution.

      Bless. :D

    • stuff4kids profile image
      Author

      Amanda Littlejohn 3 years ago

      Hi Eiddwen,

      Thanks for your comments. I guess that Wales is the wild west of the Uk, isn't it?

      Bless you. :)

    • carrie Lee Night profile image

      Kept private 3 years ago from Northeast United States

      Love the Wild West history. Thank you for taking the time to write this hub. Have a great week.

    • stuff4kids profile image
      Author

      Amanda Littlejohn 3 years ago

      Hi carrie,

      I'm pleased y0u enjoyed it. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Bless. :)

    • ravi1991 profile image

      Ashutosh Tiwari 3 years ago from Lucknow, India

      @stuff4kids

      Though it might seem little irrelevant, but you should have certainly given some space for Sergio Leone-- the legendary producer, director who immortalized western spaghetti genre in movies.

      Rest is wonderful.

      Ah! I finished article with such an ease and interest.

      Thanks for sharing such an article on the smart guys-- I call them as such.

      Wishes

    • stuff4kids profile image
      Author

      Amanda Littlejohn 3 years ago

      Thanks for your comment ravi1991.

      All the best.

    • Purpose Embraced profile image

      Yvette Stupart PhD 3 years ago from Jamaica

      This is a very interesting and informative hub on the wild west and cow boys. I love to watch westerns movies. Thanks for posting.

    • stuff4kids profile image
      Author

      Amanda Littlejohn 3 years ago

      Hi Purpose Embraced,

      Thanks for your comment. I'm glad you found this interesting and informative.

      Bless. :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Mindi, I'm back to say congratulations for being in the top 10 for the HubPot Challenge for the week! You have a great hub!

    • parrster profile image

      Richard Parr 3 years ago from Oz

      Amazing hub well deserving of its Hubpot Challenge achievements. Really is impressive the amount of effort you've put into this. Congratulations, voted up and awesome.

    • stuff4kids profile image
      Author

      Amanda Littlejohn 3 years ago

      Thanks, FlourishAnyway!

      You are very kind. Bless you. :)

    • stuff4kids profile image
      Author

      Amanda Littlejohn 3 years ago

      Hi parrster!

      Thanks for your kind comments. I'm glad that you enjoyed the hub.

      Bless. :)

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 3 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      This is a wonderful collection of information about the American west. I have always been fascinated by western stories fact or fiction. Well done. Voted up.

    • stuff4kids profile image
      Author

      Amanda Littlejohn 3 years ago

      Thanks, Diana,

      You are very kind. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

      Bless you :)

    • Iolani profile image

      Iolani 3 years ago from USA

      Hi stuff4kids,

      Thanks for writing such wonderful hubpage. Great efforts. really love it.

    • stuff4kids profile image
      Author

      Amanda Littlejohn 3 years ago

      Hi Iolani!

      Thanks so much for reading this article about the Wild West and taking the time to leave such a kind comment.

      I'm happy you found it interesting.

      Bless you :)

    • techygran profile image

      Cynthia 3 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      This is a well-organized, well-written hub about a fascinating topic.

    • stuff4kids profile image
      Author

      Amanda Littlejohn 3 years ago

      Why, thank you, techygran!

      Sure was nice of ya to make such a kind comment :)

      Bless you.

    • Maggie.L profile image

      Maggie.L 3 years ago from UK

      Thanks for sharing such an insightful and informative hub. I've certainly learned a lot of new and interesting facts about the wild west.

    • stuff4kids profile image
      Author

      Amanda Littlejohn 3 years ago

      Hi Maggie!

      Thanks you so much - I'm delighted that you enjoyed this history of the old west, native peoples and the cowboys.

      Bless you :)

    • daphne64 profile image

      daphne64 2 years ago from Alabama

      I thought that this article was very interesting. I do not think I would have been happy then because I have both white and Indian relatives in my family tree. I LOVE them all and it would have been heartbreaking to say the least.

    • stuff4kids profile image
      Author

      Amanda Littlejohn 2 years ago

      Hi daphne64.

      Thank you for your comment and contribution to this hub. You know, you might be the first person to have gotten the real theme of this article!

      Bless you. :)

    • Johnny Parker profile image

      Johnny Parker 2 years ago from Birkenhead, Wirral, North West England

      Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show came to England, must have been around the turn of the centuary. I have some photo's take by my Grandad of their visit to Liverpool.

      Great article, I love the Wild West, I grew up on 'Cowies' as a kid. Well done.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hello, stuff4kids,

      . . .Wow! Amazing! Breath-taking! And I could easily keep going. Voted up and away on this marvelous work. The text and graphics fit like a glove and were absolutely perfect!!!! Without flaw. I wish my hubs looked this smooth.

      Check your fan mail for more from me to you.

      I would consider it a great favor if you would read a couple of my hubs and then be one of my followers.

      Keep up the great work.

      Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Al.

    • stuff4kids profile image
      Author

      Amanda Littlejohn 2 years ago

      Hi Johnny!

      Thanks for your comments. That's wonderful to have those photographs from your grandfather! Maybe you could build a hub around them and the story of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show visiting England. Do you know the dates?

      Bless. :)

    • stuff4kids profile image
      Author

      Amanda Littlejohn 2 years ago

      Hi Kenneth!

      Well, thank you for all those kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed the article.

      Sure, I'll find the time to check out your hubs.

      Thanks again for your contribution.

      Bless you. :)

    • profile image

      Kenneth Avery 2 years ago

      stuff4kids,

      You are so welcome. And I scored 100% on your Wild West Quiz. I am not boasting. Just glad to know "something" about that great time in America.

      And thanks for checking out my hubs--and I cannot wait until you follow me. I am very excited.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 2 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I enjoyed reading this article about the Wild West, a fascinating part of American history that still captivates us today. The romance of moving into a new land, the geography, the characters and tragedies all combine to make this time a remarkable one.

    • starstream profile image

      Dreamer at heart 2 years ago from Northern California

      Fine work in this hub. Thanks for sharing all the photos too. You succeeded in presenting some very colorful history about the Wild West. Including the cowgirls was so interesting too.

    • stuff4kids profile image
      Author

      Amanda Littlejohn 2 years ago

      Hi Dolores!

      Thank you so much for reading this and for your comment. I'm delighted that you found it edifying.

      And I do agree with you, that the period of history that we refer to as the wild west was indeed a very complex one, full of heroism, villainy, wonder and tragedy in at least equal measure.

      In fact, as in the case of the plight of First Nations People, that history is still alive in the present and very much demanding of our attention.

      Thanks again for your comment. Bless you :)

    • stuff4kids profile image
      Author

      Amanda Littlejohn 2 years ago

      Hi starstream!

      Glad you enjoyed this and thank you so much for commenting. And I agree with you wholeheartedly that we mustn't forget the cowgirls!

      Bless you :)

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

      First rate account of the key aspects of Wild West mythology and truth. I love all the information, and the videos are well presented, very informative and carefully selected by you. Nice to see the old photos and paintings which show that gratifyingly much of the basic imagry of the west was true. Also interesting how the Wild West shaped even some modern attitudes in America, re-gun ownership for example.

      I found the section on the Pony Express particularly interesting - such a short period of time it spanned, and yet it still remains a legendary name in communication across the nation.

      One interesting fact I've heard which may or may not be true is that most cowboys only loaded their 'six-shooters' with five bullets for safety reasons, leaving an empty cartridge in the barrel to avoid accidental shootings.

      The Wild West story has been revised, due to recognition of the tragic impact on native Americans, and because Hollywood glamourised the period for its movies, but it still remains an extraordinary time in American history with wonderfully colourful adventures, characters and events.

      Great hub stuff4kids. Shared. Alun

    • stuff4kids profile image
      Author

      Amanda Littlejohn 2 years ago

      Hi Alun,

      Thank you for a comment that is a truly wonderful contribution to the hub!

      I'm delighted that you found it so interesting. I just checked out the idea that old-time cowboys only loaded five rounds in their six-shooters on a site called cowboytocowboy *dot* com and the opinion seems to be that many regular folks probably did do that as a security measure (the safety bar hadn't been invented yet) but the sheriffs and the gunslingers loaded a full chamber because, for them, the extra round was less of a risk than not having enough fire power if there was a shoot out.

      Thanks again for your great comment! Bless you :)

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

      Your comment about having five or six bullets in the six-shooter makes perfect sense. I'm sure anyone expecting to get involved in a gunfight would have wanted as many bullets as possible. But I kinda like the idea that many cowboys may have routinely used five - it would be an indication that health and safety considerations even existed in the Wild West! :-)

      That's a nice site you referred to. I just took a look at it myself. Best wishes

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 2 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Great hub. Growing up in a rural part of Tucson, I had lots of first-hand experience with the lifestyle of the cowboys.

    • stuff4kids profile image
      Author

      Amanda Littlejohn 2 years ago

      Hi SheGetsCreative!

      Thanks for your comment. I wonder if you know from your first-hand experience of cowboys if they tended in the Old West to load five or six cartridges? What to the cowboys you've known say about that? It would be interesting - of course, maybe you never talked about it!

      Thanks again for reading. Glad you liked it. :)

    • stuff4kids profile image
      Author

      Amanda Littlejohn 2 years ago

      Hi Alun!

      Yeah, I kinda think that Health and Safety as we think of it today was not even a vague consideration back then! But it's a nice thought... "Hey, careful with that thing, someone might got shot!"

      :)

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Stuff4Kids,

      Hubs like this always get my attention as well as those in-depth, truthful documentaries on The History Channel, Learning Channel and Discovery.

      There is still a lot of things we, the modern society, need to discover or rather, uncover, about the West.

      I want to be living when that happens.

    • stuff4kids profile image
      Author

      Amanda Littlejohn 2 years ago

      Hi Kenneth,

      Thanks for your comment. I'm glad you found this article about the Wild West, Cowboys and Native American people interesting. I think sometimes it is hard for us to take a balanced view of this period of history but that is what I have tried to do here.

      Thanks again for your comment. Bless :)

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Stuff4Kids,

      You are very welcome. I enjoy hubs about the West and Native Americans and their culture that in some ways, are more complex than our backgrounds. Keep up the fine work. And God bless you richly.

    • profile image

      flourishanyway 4 months ago

      love it:)

    • stuff4kids profile image
      Author

      Amanda Littlejohn 4 months ago

      Thank you. :)

    • profile image

      Nadia davids 6 weeks ago

      Ever since I watched the Disney junior show called Sheriff Callies's Wild West I was more curious about the wild west and about the cowboys and cowgirls in the past, so I said I wanted to become a sheriff just like my hero. Sheriff Callie. but my parents say that its a dangerous job, and I asked my dad how many years did the wild west end, so he said it ended 100 years ago but when I googled last night how many years has it been 122 years ago since it ended and the wild west were there for 30 years

    Click to Rate This Article