Consider a cowboy, and the first thing that comes to mind is Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, and countless others. These people had six shooters; a hat with a broad brim on their heads and were ever willing to get into a fight. This was the depiction made by the movies to give Americans the impression that these were the coolest, calmest and the most heroic people in American history.

However, there are questions about the myths that were popularized by the movies because cowboys were definitely different. In reality, they were not as depicted in the movies.

Let us look at the facts and understand whether cowboy myths are actually true. 

 “When I grew up, I only had two dreams. One was to be a cowboy and another was to be in the military. I grew up extremely patriotic and riding horses” —. Chris Kyle

Guns Were Not Synonymous With Cowboys 

Over the years, we have always been seeing cowboys with guns on the hunt for a shootout. Regardless of whether it was Clint Eastwood or John Wayne, they were constantly looking forward to blowing away the bad guys.

However, if you consider the matter during the 19th-century, history will tell you that cowboys almost never carried guns with them. They had guns when they were out on a cattle drive, but most towns within the wild West had enacted tough gun laws just to prevent the type of shootouts we witness in the movies. This information could easily raise another question about how cowboys managed to resolve problems without guns. 

Cowboys Never Got Involved In Fights 

Acording to history, the true story of the Western part of America was one of cooperation and not conflict. Survival instincts were high, and people realized that the best way to achieve this objective was to live peacefully.This clearly ensured that were no incidents of murders. In fact, even in the toughest towns, homicide rates were typically lower than in most American cities today.

Bank robberies were also rare. The University of Dayton has provided information stating that there were more bank robberies in Dayton during a single year than they were across the entire wild West in a decade. 

The Clean-Cut Image of Cowboys is Only Visible in the Movies 

Movies of the Wild West display Cowboys as morally upright and clean individuals. However, the fact on the ground was entirely different. Cowboys were dirty because they rarely got an opportunity to have a bath. Most of them were covered in grime and sweat. Even worse was the fact that cowboys were often afflicted by STDs.

Depending upon the location of the wild West, about 50 to 90% of local prostitutes were had STDs and cowboys were known to visit them frequently.  Precise figures for the numbers of cowboys affected by STDs are presently unavailable. Nonetheless, information from the U.S. Army suggests that new recruits between 1876 and 1896 were frequently diagnosed with the condition. 

Cowboys Were not Required To Ride Horses 

If you believe a cowboy cannot exist without horses, you should consider your thoughts again. Just after 1885, a dry summer and a fierce winter convince some ranchers to keep their cattle closer to home. This meant that Cowboys could no longer move across the plains. They had to remain close by to the ranch and do menial labor, including mending fences. It is not a surprise that most cowboys did not like these jobs.

On some occasions, Cowboys were even required to ride camels, which had been imported during the 1850s. Camels were accidentally released into the wild during the Civil War. Camels were considered better for coping with the heat than horses. Therefore, with the approval of the U.S. government, hundreds of camels were imported from Camp Verde. 

Afro-Americans Were Also Common Among Cowboys 

This may sound surprising, but around 25% of all cowboys were African-Americans. During those days, African-Americans still languished as slaves and the people who got for the job as Cowboys were expected to handle the toughest and the hardest jobs.

The next time you sit down to watch a cowboy movie, do not believe you are looking at history as it was. You are just looking at a fairytale that never existed.   

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