(English cowboy, cow cow) is the name used in the Wild West of the USA in relation to shepherds. The era of cowboys began in 1865, when it was necessary to drive into the theft of giant feral herds of bulls, mostly in Texas. This era is over about twenty years later.
After the 1930s, a nostalgic, glorious look at cowboys came into fashion in America. He found reflection in the musical style of country, comics, advertising, clothing, as well as in cinematography. Indispensable attributes of a cowboy are cowboy hat, boots, waistcoat, checkered shirt on buttons with a double yoke (western yokes), lasso, revolver.
The image of a cowboy, a manly and eternally drunk “tough guy”, the freedom-loving conqueror of the Wild West, the instigator of brawls, for any reason grabbing for the faithful Colt and without the superfluous words of a shooting ending, has formed in our minds thanks to numerous westerns.
But was this really the case? Historical facts prove that almost all ideas about cowboys, firmly rooted in the minds of several generations – are wrong. What were actually people about whom a lot of myths were created? We will try to find the answer to this question.
America XVIII – XIХ centuries – the country of cowboys.
In fact, neither in America, nor in the Wild West, cowboys have ever made up a large part of the population. According to statistics, for the last hundred years in the country there were no more than 20 thousand representatives of this profession.
Cowboys are free and independent people.
This is not quite true. It should be remembered that cowboys are ordinary shepherds, most of them hired to rich farmers and have driven cattle from Texas to the northwestern states for them. Therefore, the freedom of representatives of this profession is a relative concept.
Songs of cowboys – about sultry beauties, about Indians and carefree gay life.
Wrong opinion. Cowboys led a difficult nomadic life. After all, the migration of livestock, which lasts more than a year, along dusty, exhausting roads, is not an easy thing. Because the songs of cowboys are not so cheerful and optimistic, as can be judged from the films, and they usually tell of the half-starved riders, whose entire income is $ 25 per month.
Cowboys were exclusively representatives of the white race.
In westerns, yes. In fact, every third cowboy was black, and every fourth – an Indian. There were a lot of representatives of this profession and Mexicans. And in the rodeo the winners were not only “white”. For example, Nat Love, perfectly controlled with a lasso, and John Ouar, who among the tamers of wild horses was not equal – black.
Cowboys hated the Indians.
No, the settlers and the army of the United States (North American United States) fought against the Indians. Cowboys, sometimes themselves Indians, tried to negotiate with the native inhabitants of America. After all, it was the Indians selling (or exchanging) the products and various things that cowboys needed so much during the migration of livestock.
Cowboys constantly fired from the Colt to the right and left indiscriminately.
This is not quite true. Cowboys wore weapons quite rarely, and used it only in extreme cases, and they shot mostly in the air. After all, the sounds of a shot, like the flapping of a shepherd’s whip, help to control the herd.
The Colt shot without a miss at any distance.
This weapon is not intended for aiming at long range, especially on moving targets. Accurate hit is possible only from a distance of several steps.
Cowboy could put the enemy on the spot with a shot “from the hip”.
“From the hip” in those days, almost no one shot. The first reason, as already mentioned, is the low accuracy of this type of weapon. And the second reason is the lack of practice of aimed shooting – in fact the charges at that time were quite expensive.
Cowboys could shoot at once from two pistols.
No, it’s not.First, during the cowboys’ time two revolvers were worn at once, either eccentric people, or newcomers, or Texas riders and military men. Secondly, no one fired two of the Colts at the same time, preferring to produce twelve accurate shots without reloading at first from one gun, and then from another.
Cowboys were constantly making skirmishes in homes and in saloons.
It’s an invention. It should be remembered that in those days gunpowder was used, which, when burned, emits a large amount of smoke. So, the first shot filled the room with a suffocating black cloud, and the coughing arrows were forced to leave the smoky building as quickly as possible.
Cowboys died from wounds received in fights with Indians or during brawls in the saloon.
This information is incorrect. Cowboys, who maintained quite good relations with the Indians and who did not often organize fights, died most often of pneumonia (which can be considered a kind of “professional disease”).
All cowboys are drunkards.
No, there was neither time nor money for the drunkenness of the representatives of this profession.
A typical cowboy dressed like that: pointed Cossack boots (most often with spurs), jeans, checkered shirt and a hat-stetson.
In fact, the clothes of many cowboys – sombrero and camisole – resembled the garments of Spanish colonists. Those who could not afford such a “outfit” wore “texas” (trousers made of buffalo skins). And only a little later there were jeans, “cowboys” and other garments, in which the heroes of popular westerns flaunt.