Reel Cowboys
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
Calendar
Reel Cowboys News
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
IN THE NEWS
Vol. 1 - No. 2 May, 2019 Nooseletter Home SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
 

Surprising Ways the American Wild
West was Different From the Way it Has Been Portrayed

The Wild West evokes images of Clint Eastwood and Western movies. A place where men were tough and rough; a place of gunfights and massacres.

But was the West truly like this? Read below and find out some strange but true facts about life in the Wild West.

SOME OF THE FAMOUS OUTLAWS WERE GIRLY AND VAIN
Jesse James Portrait
Jesse James Portrait
Outlaws were famous back in the Wild West for their toughness and deep, manly voices. Some were a little vain, such as Jesse James, who left self-aggrandising notes detailing his accomplishments at his crime scenes. Billy the Kid boasted and inflated his achievements – he killed only four people in his career but encouraged the rumors that he had killed twenty. Wild Bill, who looked tough, actually had a lisp and got fired for talking like a girl. The “Bill” part of his name actually referred to the size of his nose.
CAMELS WERE IMPORTED TO USE IN THE HOT SOUTHWEST
Drawing of Loading a Camel
Drawing of Loading a Camel
Even though none of the movies have ever depicted cowboys riding camels, they may have done so in the Old West. For a time the southwestern United States was home to feral camels thanks to the US military and government.

In 1855, Congress paid $30,000 to import camels all the way from Egypt. It was an army experiment to breed them and use them in the baking hot areas of the southwest, where horses and mules struggled with arid conditions. Even though the experimental use of camels as pack animals for traveling through areas of little water availability worked, the idea was eventually abandoned and the camels were set loose. The feral camels bred in the wild and were spotted until 1941 living in inhospitable areas of Texas.

CARRYING FIREARMS WAS BANNED IN THE
OLD WEST WHEN GOVERNMENT FORMED
A cartoon caricature of Wyatt Earp after the Sharkey-Fitzimmons fight. The public was outraged by Earp’s decision as referee and newspapers pilloried him for many weeks afterward.
A cartoon caricature of Wyatt Earp after the Sharkey-Fitzimmons fight. The public was outraged by Earp’s decision as referee and newspapers pilloried him for many weeks afterward.
It seems that once a local and national government of the Wild West formed, gun control was on top of their list. Dodge was one of these places and the famous battle at OK Corral was about Wyatt Earp trying to enforce that law. Wichita and Tombstone also had similar laws and weren’t shy about enforcing them. The second most common reason for being arrested back in the true Wild West was illegal possession of a firearm.
COWBOYS WERE TOUGH AND GRUBBY AND PLAYED HARD
The cowboy, the quintessential symbol of the American Frontier (1887)
The cowboy, the quintessential symbol of the American Frontier (1887)
Cowboys, we are led to believe, were rugged, gun-slinging tough men. They would have been tough, for sure, but life in the Old West required this of everybody.

Cowboys were often illiterate and worked dirty, difficult jobs. They got drunk on their days off, started fights, and often ended up in jail for long stretches of time. They wouldn’t have decked themselves out in fashionable gear like cowboys in the movies–their clothes had to be practical and were often worn into rags.

FRONTIER PROSTITUTION WAS A LIFE
OF POVERTY AND LOST HOPE
Unlike the depiction in Western films of prostitutes as misunderstood and misled girls with hearts of gold, the true experience of prostitution in the Wild West was one of trauma and degradation. As an added cruelty, local newspapers had a habit of naming and shaming the women. Suicide and addictions were high among frontier prostitutes. Brothels themselves were nearly impossible to escape as the owners made sure that the girls competed with each other and ate very little. They were places where women with no other choices ended up.
MULTICULTURAL POPULATION IN THE SOUTH
AND MIDWEST OF NEARLY 56 NATIONALITIES
Settlers crossing the Great Plains - by F.O.C. Darley & Engraved by H.B. Hall
Settlers crossing the Great Plains
by F.O.C. Darley & Engraved by H.B. Hall
Hollywood and its cowboy movies often had only white tough guys forming posses or farming the land.

Rarely do they ever suggest the ethnic diversity that was actually present in the Wild West, which was populated by people from around the world.

In Wyoming alone, with a population of 10,000 people, there were 56 nationalities including Germans, Swedes, Chinese, Slovakians, Finns, Ottomans, and Norwegians. Irish, Russians, and Italians poured into the country as well.

100 MILLION NATIVE AMERICANS LIVED IN
AMERICA BEFORE EUROPEANS ARRIVED
The Treaty of Penn With the Indians
The Treaty of Penn With the Indians
The native cultures either farmed or were nomadic, depending on their own individual cultures, and were a sophisticated people who had extensive trade routes. After the original plagues that decimated them, they were further reduced by genocide and smallpox.
THE GUNFIGHT AT OK CORRAL LASTED 30 SECONDS AT THE MOST
Marais des Cygnes Massacre
Marais des Cygnes Massacre
Rather interestingly, this battle didn’t even happen at the corral at all, but in a back alley nearby. The body count was only three and the incident lasted a whole 30 seconds. Most of that time was taken up by the participants running away–being shot at was no laughing matter. Wyatt and Holliday were actually arrested for murder after all the smoke cleared. Evidence came to light that one of the dead men was unarmed and it was possible that Wyatt fired first. He lost his position as sheriff.

However, the charges were dropped in the end and it appears that the pair were lucky, as many people wanted them convicted. It wasn’t until later that the story we know in movies came out.

THE FRONTIER HAD LESS FIGHTING AND BANK ROBBERIES
THAN THE MOVIES LED US TO BELIEVE
A Dime Noval Featuring Jesse James from 1901
A Dime Noval Featuring Jesse James from 1901
It seems that a day in the Wild West was not all about bar-room brawls and shootouts. Bank robberies were rare too. Out in the lawless west, people cooperated more as they relied on each other for comfort and survival.

An estimate for bank robberies in the time of the frontier is that there might have been a dozen of them in total. Homicide rates were very low, even in such places such as Tombstone, with the highest recorded being five in one year.

by Ian Harvey@ Vintage News
Back
UPCOMING EVENTS
  May 2-5
Cowboy Way Fest
   
  May 4
Reel Cowboys Meeting
   
  May 4-5
Chino Air Show
   
  May 10
Sandra's Going Country
   
  May 10-11
West Coast Militaria Show
   
  May 17-19
4th Annual Amed Forces Day
   
  May 18
Reel Cowboys Meeting
   
  June 1
2019 Iron Horse Carnival
   
  September 20
Silver Spur Awards Show
Adverts
Call 818-395-5020 for more information
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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
 
The Reel Cowboys © - All Rights Reserved.
The REEL COWBOYS are a 501(c)(3) non-profit (#95-2161173) organization:
All Monetary Donations and Sponsorships are Tax Deductible!
The Reel Cowboys: Dedicated to  unique American tradition - the Western film