Home >> City and country >> 10 evidence that the Wild West really was wild

10 evidence that the Wild West really was wild


The Western genre exists, by and large, the same as the movie itself. The era of the cowboys, crazy bandits, ruthless and uncompromising war with the Redskins, etc. only lasted about half a century (1830s to 1880s), but now it is a big part of the American myth, which – and this is really so, is all of American culture.

Western a true American classic. And, in fact, everything we know about the Wild West, drawn from those films about the brave and fearless cowboys and their determined wives. But it, everything was really? Let's try to understand.

10. A big part of what we know about the Wild West — true

Yes, a good half (maybe more) that we saw in the westerns, is a conventional fiction. If we take into account that a considerable part of them didn't take Americans and the Italians (heard the term "spaghetti Western"?), it becomes clear that with real historical images there is a big problem.

Was not the American cowboys are no characters that possess all types of firearms. The cowboy is an ordinary shepherd, which large herds of cows here and there on the prairies.

And they did not engage in battle with the Indians (for the most trivial of reasons: first, the cowboys with the herd has always been not that much, is clearly smaller than that of the Indians, embarked on the warpath; secondly, the showdown with the Redskins was not included, so to speak, in their "duties", and in General, getting in to anyone especially do not need a shoot – farewell herd; and thirdly, it makes sense to quarrel with the Indians, the land is constantly chase the cattle, in principle, no).

And not satisfied with the cowboys no duels on the main streets of small towns (they rarely used guns).

9. A man without a weapon was not considered a full man

Yes, the tradition of keeping guns in this house (just in case) appeared in the US during the days of the Wild West. Then it was a real necessity: a man should be able to get game to feed your family and to protect her (family) if necessary.

Why every self-respecting cowboy or farmer, of course, had the most famous colt or any other firearms.

But what about the phenomenal hit literally every American from the Wild West (including women) one may doubt quite reasonably. Not all were great arrows, hitting the coin from a distance of 200 meters.

8. The law establishes private offices

In major cities of the Wild West was quite a large police Department that copes with the protection of public order and security. That is why the bandits tried not to go there: their dark deeds they've done, mainly in rural areas.

To Rob a Bank, steal and sell someone else's animals, "brakes" and Rob a train – easily! But no offense, if you get killed without a trial right there on the scene.

The fact that as the official representatives of the authorities in the "wild Prairie" almost not there, but their functions were performed by various private security and detective agencies (or "land office"), which are "customized" existing under the laws of their own methods.

Criminals they usually didn't arrest shoot to kill without warning (why bother with them?). By the way, the founder of one of the most famous of these agencies was the famous Alan Pinkerton – the prototype of the "king of detectives" NAT Pinkerton.

7. The bandits were intimidated sheriffs of reprisals

You say: "But in the small towns of the Wild West had sheriffs? Isn't it? Why don't they fought crime in its territory?" Actually fought (as much as I could when there are only two or three assistants).

But in rural areas everyone knows everyone. And if the Sheriff was fond of prosecution of a local gang, he quickly hinted that the bandits know about where his family lives or with whom he has a friendly and other ties.

And if he did not stop to disturb them "do the work", these people can suffer (until death). And the Sheriff knew exactly – it's not just words.

6. White is not always won in battles with the Indians

War white aliens with the Indians – the indigenous inhabitants of the American continent, lasted, in total, three and a half centuries: almost from the beginning of the colonization of North America to 1890 (before the massacre at wounded knee).

But the most violent they took just in the era of the Wild West – by the time the Indians, uncompromising marginalized to the most barren of land, literally fighting for their survival.

And, judging by the westerns, it is easy to believe that the us army almost always wins the Redskins (of course, wild, and bloodthirsty) with ease.

In fact it is, of course, is absolutely untrue. So, in the summer of 1876 a combined force of Lakota and Cheyenne during the so-called "War Sioux" virtually destroyed the 7th cavalry of George Custer at little Bighorn (where Custer himself attacked the camp of the Indians, despite the fact that there were many women and children).

And for 10 years prior to this major event, in 1866, the same Lakota and Cheyenne (and Arapaho) killed a detachment of captain William Piece (81). And this is not isolated cases.

5. Scalp was not invented by the Indians

And once we started talking about the Indians, the barbaric tradition to scalp of a defeated enemy got too don't they. In fact, it is the "invention" of white people.

The fact that when he started a real war of extermination against the Redskins (who did not want to move from their ancestral lands and sometimes massively vierasy of entire tribes due to the "good" white people who sold them cheap blankets infected with the deadly for the Indians diseases), they were allowed to shoot literally as animals.

Moreover, the mercenaries, willingly participated in the genocide, and even paid $ 25 for every redhead.

But to prove the fact of murder, it was necessary to provide some kind of "trophy", and carry with them, for example, head whole – as it is not too convenient.

Therefore, it was invented simply to remove from the head the skin along with the hair, scalp perfectly fit into any bag. And the Indians just began to do the same.

4. Decent people did not wear jeans

Jeans is a universal clothing, we put them on, as they say, "and in the feast and in the world." Everyone knows that they appeared in America.

Well, someone heard that initially these pants were just kind of working clothes, i.e., clothes for the dirty jobs?

They were worn only by cowboys, farmers, miners, Yes the slaves on the plantations in the southern States. Any decent gentleman even in a head would not come to fasten "it".

By the way, blue jeans in the Wild West also did not know, then they were off-white until the 1870s, no one saw any practical need to paint them.

3. Cowboys was an unwritten "code of honor"

As we already know, the cowboys were the most ordinary workers, and, often, also extremely poor. They found "jobs" on the surrounding ranches and pastures and graze someone else's cattle (sometimes not even their own horses) for a very modest payment.

But these "workers of the saddle and the whip", however, there was a sort of code of proper behavior. So, the cowboy never would shoot an unarmed man (to shoot in women and children was especially strictly forbidden).

They had no right to wear someone else's hat, and jump on someone else's horse without permission of the owner in their community was literally equal to "seduce another man's wife" (respectively, horse thieves were hanged without question).

Well, when leaving the city after a successful weekend should have been a shootout in the air and yell loudly (as if in gratitude for the pleasure).

2. Buffalo destroyed almost to a man

Not the least important cause of severe Indian wars was the destruction of white people, huge number of bison. For the Indians of the prairies these wild cattle were the main source of life – they ate meat, hides, bones, and lived do household tools, clothing and shelter (tipis and wigwams).

The Indians never kill the Buffalo unnecessarily, hunting for them as much as needed for the tribe at the moment.

But when on Indian lands the white man came (and especially when they began building Railways), the number of bison began to decrease.

They ruthlessly knocked out not even hundreds of thousands, and millions, so, if in 1800 the number of bison, according to rough estimates, was about 30 million, by the end of the nineteenth century there were fewer than a thousand (!) goals.

Skins and meat of the Buffalo was supplied the American army, in addition, a significant part of "production" profitable to sell to Europe.

1. Some of the pioneers of the Wild West had to eat people

In the winter of 1846-1847. there was a terrible story associated with immigrants to the West. Later it was called the Donner Party.

62-year-old George Donner and 46-year-old James Reid, who lived in Springfield (Illinois) too was inspired by the book of a gentleman of Hastings, a lawyer, who was in California and all calls to immediately go to this God-blessed place.

And Hastings claimed that he knows a shorter route to California (shorter by as much as 600 kilometers compared with the fact that there is a majority of immigrants). As it turned out, the Hastings this way has not gone.

Reed and Donner loaded their families into wagons and moved in a way. On the road they were joined by several large families, bringing the total number of group members reached 87 people (23 carts).

They were in a hurry to get to get to the first frost. But, already passing almost every 4 thousand kilometers (it was necessary to overcome only some 200 km through the mountains of the Sierra Nevada), the group suddenly stuck on impassable for carriages pass because of the early snow and breakdowns.

In a matter of days the pass is covered with snow so that in some places the snow reached a height of 6 meters. In the end, Donner with people was forced to spend the winter in the mountains, a long 4 months trying to survive and escape from the trap. (Reed was banished from the group long before for the murder of one of the charioteers, and he made it safely to California myself).

When in late February 1847, they found the first expedition of rescuers, there are still only 48 people, extremely exhausted and almost maddened. As it turned out, many of them survived, mostly by eating the bodies of their dead comrades. (But openly admitted that only one man).

^ Top