How to be a cowboy: The protocol in 1882…

August 13, 2009 by  
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cowboy_how_to_be_a2It’s interesting how the stereotype of the cowboy as created by Western movies and the lore generated by Western writers can hold true to reality. This was my thought when I can across an interesting tidbit from a Yuma, Arizona, newspaper of January 7, 1882—from a truly Western town at  the high point of the Wild West era:

“He Wanted to be a Cowboy”

A youth recently went all the way from Chicago to New Mexico to become a cowboy. When there he explained his desire to a typical mountaineer whom he met and asked for instructions in the role he had wished to assume. Grasping him by the hand the mountaineer said: “You want to get a buckskin suit with plenty of fringe, a pair of high boots and a pair of high spurs. Then you want to get a broad-rimmed hat–the broader the better; two fort-fives, a knife, a Winchester rifle and a horse; then you want to get drunk and get on your horse; then take the reins in your teeth, a revolver in each hand, and go down the street at a full run, shooting at every jump. then come back and yell as loud as you can: ‘My name is ______ and I’m stinking for a fight; I’m a sone-of-a-gun from the plains.’ After that you will be a cowboy.” The picture is duly referred to the cowboy’s prototype in Western Missouri.”

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