I love cowboys

I love cowboys.

I grew up watching John Wayne movies with my dad and Clint Eastwood Spaghetti westerns with my stepdad. Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams Jr., and Johnny Cash were always on the 8-track player or the AM radio. In high school, I usually had a Louis L’Amour dime-novel in my backpack next to my Stephen King huge bible.

Living on a ranch, riding horses, exploring canyons and gulches was a frequent day dream of mine. However, reality involved an Ohio farm, a small farm town, and way too much humidity.

I moved out west as soon as I could, but my version of the west keeps including cities, since small western ranch-towns don’t usually need technical writers.

So, what spurred me to start down this Old West trail of thoughts? I read Jacquie Roger’s latest book, Much Ado About Marshals this last weekend. If you like western historical with lots of laughs and fun adventures mixed with fun romance, you’ll enjoy her story about Daisy, a wanna-be detective, stuck in a time when women were supposed to get married and have babies and not go around trying to solve crimes. Jacquie got me thinking a lot about life in the Old West and what life might really have been like.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized what a puny wimp I am and how I couldn’t handle it, starting with the outdoor toilets in the middle of winter. However, I would have loved all of the wide-open spaces. But I’d have missed modern medicine. Yet the lack of so many laws and societal rules would have been refreshing. Although I’d miss my computer when I sat down to write my books.
But I sure do love those cowboys. 🙂

What do you think? Would you have preferred living in the Old West rather than the here and now? What would you have liked about it most? What would you miss the most from the twenty-first century?

Ann Charles

11 responses to “I love cowboys

  1. *laughs* For me it was my mom, Ann! She loves John Wayne. So I grew up seeing all those movies plus the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns.

    And Kenny Rodgers, Alabama, Crystal Gayle, Barbara Mandrella….

    I like to think that life was a little simpler back then, but *shrugs and grins* probably not the truth. Last summer when we were up at our family cabin I spent a day chopping down trees with an axe and then chopping wood. Whew! If we’d had to rely on that to survive a hard winter we all would have frozen to death! 😀 (or maybe I would have been a lot better at it – fear is a powerful motivator)

    I’d miss the little conveniences for sure. Instant communication, running water, Starbucks (:P), and sanitation.

    But sometimes I think it’d be a lot of fun to walk around with a gun on your hip. *grins* Which is actually legal in Colorado, I believe, to this day.


  2. I once worked on a kibbutz in Israel—an odd place for a Catholic of half Lebanese ancestry. Everyone on a kibbutz works, and I ended up in the dairy. Now, except for the time or two the bull got out and we had to round him up, this was hardly cow punching, but I enjoyed the immediacy of the life. By this I mean the direct participation. There was none of the voyeurism T.V. and computers engender. When a cow was having difficulty giving birth, there was no choice but to roll up one’s sleeves, climb into the stall and feel the sharp acid burn of her fluids as I pulled her calf free.

    I think I could handle branding. I certainly loved the smell of straw. But I don’t know if I could carry a gun. Packing a piece, concealed or in the open, is legal where I live, but I prefer a different sort of justice and don’t find the thought of having to kill another man the least bit romantic.

    So, no. I think I’m a twenty-first century man.

  3. Hi Ann, good post and Jacquie’s book was a hoot. I’m not into cowboys much, but I’ve read a couple of stories about them recently, and there is something quite sexy about a man who can ride a horse and draw a gun. I used to love watching westerns as a kid primarily for the gun scenes.

    I wouldn’t want to live in the Old West…I don’t think they had laptops and wifi back then, did they?


  4. I grew up worshiping cowboys, all the movie cowboys, and the ones on the radio. My friends and I formed many a posse, and had many a shoot out. Then I grew up. Oh! I still love cowboys, real ones, I’ve little use for the “Drugstore Cowboys” (they are grown men still playing like they are cowboys. I feel about them the way I feel about all fakes.) But I still like cowboys, for the most part they are simple folk. I think that’s what i would like the most about the cowboy life, the simpleness of it. You have to admit, life today is complicated and everyone’s in a rush. Life was a lot slower then. I am old enough to remember outhouses and chamber pots, foul-smelling things from the past that i am glad are gone–except if an occasion arises when they are the only solution available. And electric lights are nice. I’m with Raymond on the gun, but my reason is slightly different, I’d most likely shoot someone.

    Thanks for sparking a memory, “This is the Last Cowboy Song” will be going through my mind all day. Sing it Willie!

  5. Though I grew up in the city, both my mom and my brother spent most of their grown-up lives in the country – REAL country – and my first date (and first love) was a cowboy. So I spent some time as a teenager milking cows and worshipping my cowboy (who was also an Indian – Native Canadian as we’d say now).

    Country music? I’ve got it all – old, new, but my favorite is probably George Strait. I love his music. I grew up listening to Elvis and to C&W – great combination.


  6. Great replies everyone!! I love this topic. I’m on the road on my way to Deadwood as I type, so keeping my reply short. Thanks for talking cowboys with me!

  7. I loved cowboys until a(nother) trip from Seattle to Kansas, a bi-yearly trip my family made all through my childhood and teenage years. Somewhere across the country, my father, who (unlike my never-stop husband) stopped at every roadside “attraction” (making the trip about a week longer than it needed to be), pulled into an “Indian” village (well, it wasn’t Native American in 1959). Next to one of the really huge teepees was the most gorgeous hunk of teenaged boy I had ever seen in my life, dressed only in feathers and a breech cloth. I was a goner! I fantasized (as mildly as a 12 1/2 year old in that era could) all the way to Kansas, through the month with my boring cousins (some of whom actually WERE cowboys) and all the way back to Washington. Still have a soft-spot for tall, handsome, mid-western Native Americans, but have to admit to a growing fondness for cowboys in my old age. Evidently, I also have a fondness for exceedingly run-on sentences.

  8. Thanks for mentioning my book, Ann. And what a fun topic! I grew up on a farm and spent my entire childhood wishing I lived in the city. Then I moved to the city and now I write about country life. Go figger. Even so, country life today has all the amenities of the city, just not the people. But back in 1885 when this book was written, only a few people had telephone service and electrical power was just being perfected. Frankly, I’m not too interested in living in a house with no indoor toilet, no dishwasher, or no garbage disposal. Hauling water to the house and stoking up the wood stove for cooking might be fun for a week or two, but then I want my wifi and washing machine. For me, it’s much better to fantasize about the Old West rather than actually be there. 🙂

  9. Mercedes Christesen

    If I could I would combine the best of both. I like the sense of community that was with the old west, People shared or bartered what they had with others. If someone needed a barn or a house built, they had a raising party. Now you need permits, licensed contractors, approved building materials and etc. Yes, modern amenities like power and running water are nice but simpler times are nice, too

  10. Hi Ann,
    Since I write historical Westerns too, you know I love Cowboys! In fact I’ve just spent the past 2 weeks helping create the cover for the digital release of “Beneath a Silver Moon”, (hard work but somebody has to look at those photos of the hunky model.) I love writing Westerns, and visiting all the historic sites like ghost towns is fun. But, I know how hard life can be on a farm, and the constant work. A ranch is even more work. My perfect life would be to live on a farm with modern conveniences. (And organic farm of course, which they all were in the good old days). And add a cowboy.

  11. Deb, I have the original print version of Beneath a Silver Moon around here someplace. Congrats on getting it back on the market!

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