Essay About Cowboys

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The myths surrounding cowboys have been around long before there were ever any actual cowboys. However, they weren’t used in regards to cowboys, but for knights in the medieval period. In that time period knights were seen as the brave, chivalric heroes that came to the damsel’s rescue; just like cowboys on TV today. Historians say that the cowboy myths were started because they embodied American values and represented the ideal American: brave, strong, and most importantly white. In books and on television, the cowboy is seen as a tall, white, handsome, womanizer who could take on anybody that challenged him. But despite what was advertised in the media, cowboys weren’t as “all American” as they seemed to be. First, not all cowboys were …show more content…

Books were the first source of entertainment that included the idealized version of the “All American” cowboy. In the 1820s, one of the first authors to include cowboys in his stories, called leather stocking Tales, was Cooper. In Cooper’s stories, the heroes were never able to get the girl he saved because he was rough around the edges, which was similar to the actual cowboy. Another huge contribution to the creation of the “All American” hero was the emergence of the Wild West Shows in the 1870s. These shows glamorized the life of the cowboy using reenactments of fights between the cowboys and Indians, horsemanship, and weapons such as rifles (Brinkley, 2009). The main attraction for the shows was the famous fight between Buffalo Bill Cody and the Indians; this is where the myth of cowboys vs. Indians originally stemmed from. In 1902, a man named Owen Wister wrote a book called The Virginian, which set the tone for other stories written about the West. In order to get a good idea of what cowboys were really like, Wister traveled out to the West. When he got there Wister was disappointed to see that the cowboys really led pretty dull lives, so he used his imagination. In his stories, the cowboy always got the girl and always engaged in a dual with the villain of the story, which was the first of its kind. Owen Wister’s “The Virginian” invented the idea of a dual between the story’s hero and villain, which soon became a tradition in all Western stories. Soon after “The Virginian” came out, a 10 minute silent, black and white Western movie, “The Great Train Robbery”, was released in 1903. This film helped further promote the romanticized version of the cowboy lifestyle and the West all

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