Home
Products
Go to the OFFICIAL Silver Spur Awards Show website
Monthly Newsletter
In the NEWS
Join the Reel Cowboys
Reel Cowboy Members
Premium Members
Social Media
Calendar
Photo Gallery
Video Library
Fundraising Campaigns
About Us
Friends of the Reel Cowboys
Contact the Reel Cowboys
The Reel Cowboys of Hollywood

In Memory of the Founder of the Reel Cowboys, Jack 'J.C.' Iversen
In Memory
of the Founder

Join the Reel Cowboys on Facebook
Western Legends Roundup
Cowboys & Indians Magazine
Vol. 2 - No.4 April, 2020 Nooseletter Home SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
 
The Downfall of the American Cowboy
As the need for ranch workers has dwindled,
the iconic status of cowboys has continued to grow.
The Downfall of the American Cowboy
America loves cowboys, from the swaggering heroes of the silver screen, to legends like Buffalo Bill, to today’s bestselling videogames, such as Red Dead Redemption 2. Even presidents turn to the iconic cowboy hat and boots to endear themselves to the public and make themselves seem more authentic, capable, and iconically "American." But in real life, the American cowboy’s fortunes took a turn for the worse long ago. In a 1982 article in The Massachusetts Review, writer Peter R. Decker points out the contrast between how America celebrates cowboys and how it treats those who still roam its open plains.

A ranch today requires a cadre of specialists, including programmers, marketers, and engineers.

The downfall of the cowboy was result of the mechanization of the ranching industry. As ranches acquired more land and focused on increasing production, they required more horsepower than actual horses could provide. Machines could complete much of the physical labor. As Decker explained, "No ranch today needs a bronc buster mounted atop a $30,000 self-propelled swather, running at full throttle, spurring the paint of its flanks."
Old West outlaw Arthur Morgan from the video game Red Dead Redemption 2
Old West outlaw Arthur Morgan from the video game Red Dead Redemption 2

Decker writes that for all our admiration of the cowboy's self-reliance and independence, economically, they were always hired help. Ranches today do create jobs for many, but cowboys aren’t often on the payroll. Despite the commonly-held romantic notion of the open range, operating a ranch today requires a cadre of specialists, including programmers, marketers, and engineers. Cowboys’ skillset increasingly became less relevant to the modern, machine-run ranch, and when the work dried up, so did the lifestyle.

It seems odd, then, that as actual cowboys have been sidelined by industrialization, as a culture we continue to fervently love the figures. As Decker puts it, "There is, unfortunately, a destructive tendency in our capitalistic culture to romanticize that which we are in the process of destroying." After spending time among cowboys, Decker writes about the future of the profession: "Visit our western ranches today, and look closely, and you’ll see and hear among the owners and workers a new despair." He goes on to note:
It is a despair which can vividly imagine a future in which urban values permeate the entire countryside, where more and more land is controlled by absentee owners. It is a future which holds few rewards for the dignity of labor and its creative spirit. It is a future of mechanical feedlots and space age backlots. It is a future of a paved wilderness and a boutiqued countryside, monuments to the powerful all American consumer.
Cowboys remain a reliable marketing trope. But it would seem that the American love for cowboy trappings does not extend to the profession itself, or the way of living that enabled it.
by Farah Mohammed of the Daily JStor
Back
Call 818-395-5020 for more information
click on the image for a larger version
Go to the dbaPATRIOT website
Go to the OFFICIAL website
 
 
 
 
 



 
Get Your Memorbilia From Various Silver Spur Award Shows
 
The Reel Cowboys of Hollywood
Montoya's Betrayal Information
The Reel Cowboys Salute Our Military
 
Home | About Us | Board of Directors | Members | Join | Calendar | News | Memorial | Products | Contact Us | Membership Dues
 
The Reel Cowboys © - All Rights Reserved.
The Reel Cowboys: Dedicated to  unique American tradition - the Western film