The Old West Archives

Saloon Cowboy

The saloon cowboy has been depicted in both movies and books. It is the old west that made them the icon that they are today. Saloons were common in mostly all cities with the exception of a few areas that already had Mexican style cantinas.

Saloons mostly looked the same throughout the west. They had the common wooden front with a wooden boardwalk. There were always a few hitching posts to tie a horse. Often times a water source would be located close by for horses to drink. The front doors always consisted of two swinging doors, that would brush up against a cowboy as he walked into the main bar area. The bar itself was very long to accommodate many standing customers. The floor area consisted of wooden tables and chairs.

It was common to see a group of men playing a friendly game of poker or telling long stories of their travels. Most of the violence started in the saloon and at times emptied out into the roadway.

The first saloons to open were not the typical saloons that we all know from the movies and books. They were mostly tents or a square wooden structure with tent material thrown over the top. The material was enough to keep the rain off the heads of their costumers. The floors were not made of wood. Tent saloons never had floors of any type. If it rained the floors were muddy and if it was dry they were dusty. The only thing the early saloon offered was whiskey and a place to sit and rest. Read the rest of this entry

Cowboy Quote – A Cowboy’s Favorite

Cowboy quotes are some of the most colorful. Below are a few that you might enjoy.

  • “Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction” – This is pretty obvious. A bull will charge you, a horse will kick you and a fool will just make your life miserable.
  • If a cowboy was tired and wanted to squat down on his legs to rest, spurs would cut into his thighs. So the saying, “Don’t squat with your spurs on” was relevant for the time”.
  • The saying, “Don’t judge people by their relatives” means take a person for who he/she is and don’t fault them for their family’s mistakes”.
  • This saying has been changed with the times, but in the old west you may have heard it placed in this manner, “Behind every successful rancher is a wife who works in town”. In today’s times we say, “Behind every successful man their is a strong woman”. See how similar this one is?
  • Ever hear the saying, “When you lose, don’t lose the lesson”. This means when you end up losing a game, bet, etc. Learn from your mistakes, so you have better you chances next time.
  • The saying, “Talk slowly, think quickly” means to think quickly in any situation, but think hard about your words before saying them. Once you say something it is hard to take it back.
  • Ever hear the saying. “Silence is Golden”? There is an older saying, “Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer”. These mean the same exact thing. Sometimes it is best to hold your tongue or draw more problems to yourself. Read the rest of this entry

Cowboy Terminology

Here is a bit of cowboy terminology that you might not know. Below are a few terms that cowboy’s used to communicate while out on the range. It was not uncommon to hear a lot of these words on a daily basis. Currently these words are now used in passing, movies, cartoons and in other media. It is a good idea to learn a few of these terms if you or your child is going to dress up as a cowboy for Halloween. These words will add to the realism of the character.

CHARRO: This a Mexican cowboy who conducts himself as a gentleman. Charros are flashy riders. They dress with traditional bright clothing. Jalisco and Guerrero are the main parts of Mexico where the charro originated from.

CHARREADA: This is a group of charros getting together to show their skilled riding, roping, and bull tailing. Read the rest of this entry

Cowboy Poem

The Cowboy poem was in high demand back in the old west. There was not much to do back then, so travels were made up of song, dance and poetry. Below is an example of poetry that was written long before our time.
Ten Thousand Cattle Straying

Ten thousand cattle straying,
As rangers sang of old;
The warm chinook’s delaying,
The aspen shake with cold.
Ten thousand herds are passing,
So pass the golden years;
Behind us clouds are massing,
Like the last of the old frontiers.

It is poems like these that made the long day bearable and the job a little easier. It was not uncommon for a cowboy to put a poem like this to song. Many would carry some sort of instrument with them.

Guitars would often be pulled out of their belongings for a night of song and poetry around the campfire. Harmonicas  were also a instrument of choice. At times someone might be carrying a fiddle, while others would choose just to sing along and clap. Scenes like this were common in the old west. Read the rest of this entry