|American cowboy, circa 1888|
Fact vs. Fiction: The cowboy, an icon of the American West, is filled with half-real, half-mythical symbolism.The cowboy is depicted as being tough-as-nails with a stoic romanticism inspiring envy. His constant companion—his six-gun! His best friend—his mustang! His home—the open range.
|Cattle roundup, before barbed wire times|
Is it the cattle roundup that earned the 'COW' in his name? What about 'BOY'? All descriptors/historical records portray the cowboy as being anything but a boy. The title lends itself to visions of both cattle/cattle-tending work and age factors. Interestingly enough, the origin of the word in the English language is very old securing a place in recorded history prior to the year 1000. In antiquity, herding of sheep, cattle and goats was often the job of minors, and still is a task for young people in various third world cultures [Source: en.wikipedia.org].
It is the American cowboy, however, that has captured the hearts, minds and souls of millions of people. He has earned many names, including buckaroo, cowpoke, cowhand, cowpuncher, to name a few. His place in American history does not simply include recognition in history books but immortalization within the senses of cinema.
Hail to the cowboy and Western movies!
"Shane! Come back!" "Shane" (1953) Little Joey cries out these words as Shane (Alan Ladd) rides off into the sunset. Sure, the mother seems to be interested in him, the father wants him to stay, and the kid has made him his idol, but Shane’s done what he needed to and, even though all he wanted to do was settle down, he has to move on. We see this theme of the gunslinger who can never escape his fate in dealing death many times in the Western genre.
Are we there yet? http://awakenings2012.blogspot.com/2013/01/are-we-there-yet.html
LOVING THE WESTERNS: http://teepee12.com/2013/09/23/loving-the-westerns/
Western Badass Violence Fix - Tombstone, 1993: http://teepee12.com/2013/08/23/tombstone-1993-my-favorite-badass-western-when-i-need-a-fix/
Reviewing the Oldies: Along Came Jones (1945): http://teepee12.com/2013/09/23/reviewing-the-oldies-along-came-jones-1945/
The Origins of the Cowboy Culture...: http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/cowboyculture.htm
The History of the Vaquero: http://www.americancowboy.com/culture/history-vaquero
COWBOYS - VAQUEROS: http://www.nmhcpl.org/uploads/CH11.pdf
Do you have a favorite cowboy, movie line, Western movie? Share it here. We would all love to hear from you!