Are you a fan of the old Wild West movies on the classic movie channels? Does John Wayne seem bigger than life itself? Do you often wonder what it was like in those good old days, when families were homesteading and working the range? Well, if it seems like the rough and tumble cowboy has been relegated to the history books, then you need to take a trip to cowboy country and see it for yourself.
Women of the Wild West had to be tough. There wasn’t much time for tea parties and social gatherings. It was hard, backbreaking work for even the women. But, if you have read your history books, there was none tougher than Calamity Jane.
Calamity Jane was a scout for the West. She would ride ahead of traveling parties and make sure the passage was safe. It is debatable how she came by her nickname. But, she was the epitome of the tough cowgirl. She fought off more than her share of Indians and she could probably drink a man or two under the table. However, no one will argue that she influenced the white man’s move westward.
Wild Bill Hickok
Like Calamity Jane, Wild Bill was one of the first notables to make the trek west. He started out as a stagecoach driver, bringing others out to the wild and untamed prairie. But, life has a way of happening, even if you have other plans.
Whether Bill planned on it or not, he was elected as a constable in a Kansas town. He probably got the job, because he was a good marksman. Nobody wanted a lawman that had to take a second shot.
But, Bill was far from the lily white law abiding citizen. He became famous for his gunfights and propensity for gambling. He was a tough old coot that eventually lost his life at the gambling table, when someone shot him in the back of the head.
The cowboy you meet today might not be dressed in hides and sporting guns and knives. But, his is a job that cannot be automated by technology. The herds still need to be moved; calving is often in the middle of a spring blizzard; fences always need mending, etc.