Monday, September 9, 2013


It is funny how much our idea of cowboys is defined by the iconic imagery produced in Hollywood. I find myself searching for pictures that would reflect what I have come to expect based on movies and TV shows. The truth is, you are just hard pressed to find any images remotely like the Clint Eastwood characters, or Matt Dillon or even Festus. I guess I should realize that the photographs define reality, and not the movies. One thing I find is that it is very unusual to find a picture of a cowboy wearing a six shooter. As you can see in this picture, there is not a gun in sight. I think cowboys carrying guns was much more rare than would would be indicated from the movies.


  1. I imagine guns might get in the way.

    What I find amusing in movies is the incredible accuracy the cowboys show in marksmanship. Always hitting the target with a pistol from quite a distance while on a galloping horse?

  2. what gets me is all the white shirts

    1. That struck me, too, but it appears the fellow on the upper left may be wearing a leftover bit from the Civil War.

  3. Neat photo. I think men had more interesting facial hair back in the day. Unfortunately Hollywood has put its spin on most of American history. Fun week!
    -Anne K.

  4. I am more struck by how there isn't a fat one among them.
    Hard work & outdoor living kept those boys in shape.
    And I'll be willing to bet that those guys settled more disputes with their fists then with a gun.

  5. If your working, why would you want to carry a gun and a holster and bullits all day long. They a lot of weight to carry for no big reason.
    As far as I could tell they only time they carried weapons with them, was when they were traveling or up to "no good"

    And speaking from experence, if you do enough shooting from a moving object, you do get very good, and you don't have to aim. It all becomes just a reflex to pull the pistol out and shoot and hit your target. But it does take a fair amount of shooting to get good at it.

  6. Why are 1/2 the cowboys looking to the left and a few others are looking more straight into the camera. Do you think the camera person has a long wire attached to the camera so that he can stand way over to the left and thats why some are looking at him and some are looking at the camera? The guy all the way to the right must be getting board. It looks like he is rolling a cigarette.

  7. What! you mean the stuff I see in movies is not "true life"?? ;)

  8. The points about the cowboys in this picture not carrying guns and the thinking about why not are very interesting points. I learn a lot from this wonderful site.

  9. Have you thought about doing a set on Chinese in America? There are many intriguing photos from various Chinatowns and from work on the railroads.

  10. I wanted to comment also about their weight. The fella at the very top of the picture must have been the cook. He is the only one with any meat on his bones.


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