A Crooked West Of The West Essay

A Crooked West Of The West Essay

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A Crooked West
The American West has for years been the focal point of millions of human lives. For thousands of years people have dwelled in the region of the North American Continent known as the “West”. To some people the word west is merely a direction, to others it was home. It was the place where they were born, lived, and died. The period of time shortly before the American Civil War which started in 1861, to after the turn of the century leading up to World War One in 1914 saw a very crooked way of living emerge. The West was to forever see a major transition, one marked by murder, destruction, and greed all the while being covered up through conservationist efforts and wildly popular entertainment shows. Entire races of indigenous people who had for thousands of years called the West home were being exterminated and it started against native Tejanos in what is now Texas.
If you were to ask anyone on the street today what a Texas Ranger is, more than likely the majority of responses would be “a baseball player or team.” Television shows have been created starring the likes of Chuck Norris, portraying the modern day, tough as nails; no one can defeat Texas Ranger lawman rounding up the bad guys. If you were to ask Mexicans living along the Rio Grande in south Texas what a Texas Ranger was in the 1850’s, you most certainly would have gotten the answer of “murderer.” In the 1850’s Texas was a volatile region. Still reeling from the Mexican-American War, Texas was at the time a blueprint for what would happen to the rest of the American West. Slowly the predominantly Caucasian population from the Eastern seaboard would migrate westward, take hold, and smother out the indigenous population. In Texas the first instances of arm...

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...en who had not seen a town in weeks, brothels full of whiskey and women, and lack of structure created this savagery. New heroes emerged from these warlike towns in the form of Wyatt Earp and “Wild Bill” Hickok. These were the lawmen that were bound and determined to tame the cowpunchers much like Custer and Chivington were the men set out to tame the Indians. The lawmen like Earp and Hickok tackled the likes of Billy the Kid and Jesse James, lending another dark mystical lure to the naïve Easterners. The irony comes full circle though, in that shortly after the period of cowboys and cattle drives, while Indians were continuing to be re-educated, that crooked Americans started feeling nostalgic about their not so distant past. Men like Buffalo Bill Cody used this to their advantage and became rich in large part to what the Indian once was, not who they were becoming.

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