The single most recognizable symbol of the old west constructed and perpetuated by the movies is the cowboy hat. Then you were building railroads in hellish conditions. sparsely populated and uncultivated, not that it was particularly lawless or dangerous. And as a bonus? Despite what Hollywood would have you believe, not every cowboy (or human being, for that matter) was a white male. Mediocre? One in three cowboys were Mexican vaquero. This created a whole new business industry; many ‘entrepreneurs’ took gallons of waters from the other side to sell it to the travelers and locals for high prices. Hitting shelves in October, Cracked's De-Textbook is a fully-illustrated, systematic deconstruction of all of the bullshit you learned in school. That's why, even among those who used guns, six-shooters weren't the favorite. In that half-a-minute of mayhem and murder at around 3pm on 26 October 1881, three outlaws from a gang known as the ‘Cowboys’ were shot dead when they faced off against the Earp brothers and their friend Doc Holliday. It was far more likely that the average settler would trade with Native Americans or hire members of various tribes as guides, rather than fight them. On a riverbank in Texas, a master of disguise waited patiently with his accomplice, hoping that his target, an infamous horse thief, would show himself on the trail. But it's not like vaqueros went the way of the cowboy at the time, either. During this same period, settlers killed over 400 Native Americans. Real Wild West: The 101 Ranch and the Creation of the American West Women stepped into the seedy side of life for a number of reasons. The circle formation of wagons in the nights that Western got ‘right’ (perhaps the only thing they got right about the west) was not a defensive measure against attacking Native tribes; it was rather a move to stop the animals from wandering off and leaving people helpless in the wilderness. Travelling in heat, fighting with nature, starving for days and searching for every drop of water; the emigrants had no view of their ‘wardrobe’ especially when they were literally fighting for their lives. The 1860s and the 1890s gave birth to the period known as the Wild West and laid a foundation to its ensuing mythology. In fact, the first real Wild West showdown (that we know about) was between a man named Davis Tutt and the infamous Wild Bill Hickock himself. Of the hundreds of thousands of pioneers who willingly trudged all the way through Nebraska, only a few hundred died in clashes with Native Americans. 5 Eyebrow-Arching Superhero Stories Hollywood'll Never Make. This era of massive migration and settlement was … One in four are believed to be black men who were released from slavery but didn't have the ability to flee far from their captors. … Do you possess expert skills in image creation and manipulation? Research can find evidence of only about eight true bank heists, and that's across 15 states in 40 freaking years. Native Americans were nothing like the barbarians and killers that western movies portray them as; they were rather clean, thinking, spiritual and mostly peaceful people, much like any community of humans. Except if you were Chinese. Tom Horn Jr. was a scout, cowboy, soldier, range detective, and Pinkerton agent in the 19th-century American Old West. They were surely more civilized from the new settlers, more hygiene conscious for sure. Looking back on most portraits from the time, you can find that almost every single major name in the West owned a bowler hat, at least if they had class. Hell, it wouldn't even be possible to "circle the wagons" in an emergency -- these wagon trains typically traveled spread out in a line several miles wide, rather than in the column that the term "train" suggests, in an effort to avoid each other's dust, wheel ruts, and debris. Here's Billy the Kid wearing some kind of fucked-up top hat: Here's Wild Bill Hickok wearing a woman's flat pancake hat: But what you would have seen mostly back then were bowler hats: They were more popular because they were a little more versatile in various social situations, especially in a time when all men wore hats all the damn time. The flurry of western movie production perpetuated the American romance with the Wild West and doing so went off course with fewer facts and more fictional conjuring. We have some bad news: the U.S. was never the "underdog" we think we were, everything you know about ancient Egypt is Hollywood nonsense and your favorite book sellers are now taking pre-orders for a text book written and illustrated entirely by the Cracked team! As for the "circling the wagons" thing, that ring formation was done each night not to keep hostile Indians out, but to keep their absurdly expensive cattle from wandering off. The move largely proved to be a success and the imported giants quickly acclimated themselves to western conditions and bred well. The banks might as well have left their big white bags of gold sitting out on the porch. The rate of homicide was significantly low; there were no choreographed gun-bouts, no mass hangings; to put it in one term ‘west was never the way you may remember from the western movies’. Americans especially loved the old west, for its gunfights, cowboys, stagecoach robberies, and clashes with Indians. Well ... not exactly. Photographs were taken of the families that traveled West, and they offer glimpses of what life was like during that time period. While the Wild West wasn’t quite the world of gunslingers and desperadoes portrayed in movies, it was still a dangerous place. But deaths due to wagon train clashes were few and far between. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. And don't forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr to get sexy, sexy jokes sent straight to your news feed. Now, clearly pop culture has turned much of the true West into bullshit legend -- there were never quick-draw artists who could shoot a six gun out of your hand with another six gun. Cracked is published by Literally Media Ltd., Settlers Were Constantly Clashing With Indians, 5 Ridiculous Myths Everyone Believes About the Wild West, 'Tiger King's' Joe Exotic Chartered a Pickup Truck Limo In Hopes of Presidential Pardon, 13 Now-You-Know Tidbits About Movies, History, And More, 5 Most Dangerously Garbage Parents In Pop-Culture, 5 Details That Make 'Mandalorian' A Show All About Getting Old, 15 Video Games That Had To Change Bizarre Details In Different Countries, to keep their absurdly expensive cattle from wandering off, 6 Ridiculous Lies You Believe About the Founding of America, The Outlaw Whose Corpse Got Lost In A Haunted House, Fan Creations That Went For It, All Of It, Some Maniac Is Still Gluing Hats To Pigeons' Heads, 6 Things From History Everyone Pictures Incorrectly, 4 Reasons Everyone in the New Superman Movie is a Dick, text book written and illustrated entirely by the Cracked team, 5 Styles That Defined Entire Eras (Were Made Up by Movies), 15 Movies That Have Surprisingly Odd Foreign Titles, How President Trump Will Spend His Last Hours as Commander in Chief, Warner Bros. New Logo Exemplifies Why We Hate Brand Redesigns. We've also included the kinkiest sex acts ever described in the Bible. Shotguns and rifles were the preferred weapons, having both the power and the range to put down a mountain lion or a card-cheating son of a bitch. They didn't even use regular bullets like they currently do, instead opting for the so-called "cap-and-ball" system that was little more than a marble launched by black powder. Back then, every man, woman, and child came pre-equipped with an old-timey revolver, which was used for everything from personal defense and hunting to celebrating. Another is a bit simpler: Jane was a popular nickname for women in the Wild West (Lewis and Clark called Sacagawea “Jane”), and her life had been such a calamity. But that's the point -- they got famous for a reason. And stop by LinkSTORM to discover why you should always be ready to save a lady from the train tracks. In reality, the situation in the old west was not that bad, actually less violent than the other parts of America. There is hardly a movie genre that captivated so many for so long the way ‘Western’ did; bringing back to life some of the lost traditions of the frontier along with its ruggedness and outlaws. It had an effective range of maybe 50 feet. No one's disputing that one. Wild West has become a legend, but the real world of the American frontier played out just a short time ago. This documentary series, which was made in 1992, shows stories of how the real West was created and separates fact from fiction. Deadly gunman and Old West folk hero James “Wild Bill” Hickok was born in Illinois on May 27, 1837. Connect to your existing Cracked account if you have one or create a new Cracked username. Now, the most famous robberies -- the jobs pulled by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid -- were actually true. Cracked is published by Literally media Ltd.. Second, the banks actually weren't that easy to get in and out of. Contrary to Hollywood scripture, RL Cowboy Lyfe was less Rawhide and more A Million Ways to Die of Dysentery in the Desert. There's always the boots, too, but they kind of go together as a pair. Fascinating photos from 120 years ago show what life was really like in the Wild West. The lawlessness, the guns, the constant Indian attacks? But who would ever want to watch a Western where cowboys were meeting at high noon to shoot each other in the face with huge shotguns? So why bother with a bank, which would be a suicide mission in comparison? In a thorough review of the “West was violent” literature, Bruce Benson (1998) discovered that many historians simply assumethat violence was pervasive—even more so than in modern-day America—and then theorize about its likely causes. In reality, the people moving towards frontier traveled in groups of hundreds of wagons on dirt roads. Just look at HBO’s Westworld — it’s filled with blood-thirsty bandits but nary a gay cowboy. Reeves … And all of this has to be true; we know that horrific numbers of people died when settlers expanded West. Lawlessness ruled, vaults didn't exist, and criminals didn't give a shit. In 1855, after a fight Hickok mistakenly believed had ended with the death of his adversary, the 18-year-old headed west. Unlike the Natives, emigrants wore long and thick clothing which obviously made things worse for them while traveling in high temperatures. In reality, the Cowboys at the time did not wear such headgear, purely because it was not practical and did not go with their overall rough and rugged attire. Calamity Jane’s Maybe-Romance With Wild Bill Hickok Except that it wasn't. Dec 31, 2017 E.L. Hamilton. The Wild West of nineteenth century America was at times a chaotic and unruly place, not helped by the lack of law enforcement officials. What was like back then: People got gunned down over hands of poker (aces and eights, the dead man's hand is from here). Related story from us: Quick on the draw: Famous gunmen of the Old West. The Wild West was the home of many colorful (often disreputable) characters. There may be no name more evocative of the Wild West than Deadwood. But it's not like the six-shooter of the time was very dangerous anyway. Regardless of the vision of the Wild West one may have, the old west was nothing like what it has been portrayed on a cinema screen for the better part of last century. This timeline of the American Old West is a chronologically ordered list of events significant to the development of the American West as a region of the United States. The natives were absolutely repulsed at this, as this was a strange behavior for them. While Natives were laughing their heads off on the smelly cowboys, the incoming people faced the struggle of life and death. Hell, we bet more settlers were accidentally trampled by their own cows. When Americans moved westward, it was these vaqueros who knew the land and wildlife enough to help teach the future American cowboys everything they knew. Drinking water without a doubt was as expensive in the old west as gold. The term 'Wild West' was initially referring to the fact that the area was 'wild', i.e. Any expedition into "injun" territory came with the warning that you'd better go well-armed. Hell, even if we'd never seen a Western in our lives, that would seem like a low number. You can even visit Calamity Jane's grave. The ultimate item of the cowboy outfit is of course the Stetson hat, which most of us just call a cowboy hat. Then sign up RIGHT NOW and pitch your first article today! You’ve seen it in countless westerns. As towns formed and communities grew, the need for and tolerance of handguns started to fall. Granted, between the United States cavalry and, uh, pretty much every tribe you can name, things certainly got good and massacre-y. Regardless of the public's perception, gun control laws may have actually been stricter back in the 19th and early 20th century than they are now, especially in the West. In fact, famed Western historian Lucius "Clearly a Fake Name" Beebe went so far as to call it "the hat that won the West." Following are 48 photos from the real Wild West you probably haven’t seen: Days were long, very long if you put in the equation the scorching heat. Native American deaths caused by the U.S. government and the military likely number in the millions. Native Americans had become accustomed to the elements and learned to live with the hardships, and most of them washed regularly; far more frequently than the emigrants. The Wild West, aka the Old West, was an astoundingly awesome period in American history that every person who has ever played Red Dead Redemption wants to emulate. Cowboys weren't an American invention at all. This may come to many as a shock that Native Americans were absolutely flabbergasted to see the hygiene of the new western emigrants; they were disgusted. The events in this timeline occurred primarily in the portion of the modern United States west of the Mississippi River, and mostly in the period between the Louisiana Purchasein … Are you frightened by MS Paint and simply have a funny idea? Reconstruction of C. hesternus – By Sergiodlarosa – CC BY-SA 3.0. That vision, that western movies gave us of a single wagon slowly treading on a rugged terrain is just that; a vision. To put this in perspective, at the time a pound of meat cost approximately one cent or even less in some places. So are we! Those frontiersmen must have been firing bullets and dodging arrows on a daily basis, right? In 1843 US camel corps was formed after authorities imported some sixty-six healthy camels from Egypt and Morocco. Springing from the bushes, the cowboy confronted his frightened mark with a warrant. In the book The Lost Sisterhood: Prostitution in America, 1900-1918, author Ruth Rosen cites cases where some working girls were orphaned as children or came from broken homes. After four days, the hunch paid off, when the bandit unwittingly walked towards the man who haunted the outlaws of the Old West. And with good reason. You can create an infographic and you could be on the front page of Cracked.com tomorrow! Another fact which was totally ignored by the western filmmakers was the presence of camels in 19th century Wild West. Brothels were nearly impossible to escape from as their controlling owner… The Wild West, aka the Old West, was an astoundingly awesome period in American history that every person who has ever played Red Dead Redemption wants to emulate. Even rudimentary? Here, Robert Walsh debunks the myths and shares what really happened. In fact, they precede Plymouth Rock by some 20 years, meaning they're older than America itself. Copyright © 2005-2021. Or discover The 5 Most Overrated Jobs Of All-Time. The Whole Bushel. His leading role in America’s Western Hollywood films brought to life the nation’s frontier heritage. Today, if you find a political rally of people proclaiming themselves to be patriots, you can damn well bet you'll find cowboy hats in that crowd. The American frontier, also known as the Old West or the Wild West, includes the geography, history, folklore, and cultural expression of life in the forward wave of American expansion that began with European colonial settlements in the early 17th century and ended with the admission of the last few territories as states in 1912. About 300 to 400. Fortunately, it hasn’t been that long since our ancestors tamed the American frontier. What it's like now: Watch daily Wild West Show shootouts on Main Street or re-enactments of Wild Bill Hickok's slaying. Brothels flourished in the Old West … All of the curling and ornamentation came later, but this hat is the granddaddy of every cowboy hat in the world today. Most of the travelers packed a pair of goggles to avoid being devastated by the thick dust clouds and looked like a freshly unearthed mummy by the time they reached their destination. Being that the sheriff's office was usually no more than a few doors down, you were probably pulling your big heist within earshot of the law. As a point of comparison, bank robberies in 2010 amounted to 5,600. This one-stop social-needs block usually made up the dead center of town. Unfamiliar with the terrain the people moving to the old west feared death by thirst and starvation. Take the Wild West: we like to think we have a pretty good idea of what the frontier was like—punching cows and shooting cheats in places with names like Drunkman’s Creek and Dead Squaw’s Buttocks. Hosted by Kenny Rogers As it turns out, this exciting period in American history wasn't as rife with murderous debauchery as Western movies and pulpy novels would have us believe. Believed to have committed 17 killings as a hired gunman throughout the West. Regardless of the vision of the Wild West one may have, the old west was nothing like what it has been portrayed on a cinema screen for the better part of last century. Old West buildings were usually built pretty close together, meaning the bank would be flanked by other buildings, while a reinforced back wall would keep anyone from intruding from behind (you can sort through the Freudian implications of that). The most famous shootout in the history of the Wild West – the gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona – lasted just 30 seconds. Do you have an idea in mind that would make a great article? As the desperado reache… With law enforcement often miles away, criminals flourished, and people were left to take matters into their own hands—often with terrifying results. The cost of a mere cup of water started from one dollar, five dollars and in some places went as high as one hundred dollars. 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