Things I Still Wonder About Life in The Old West

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Ahhh, the Old West

how we love it. We love the Old West to such an extent, that we still get a silent thrill of watching early Westerns that helped to make Hollywood rich when a time when money was really money.

Gunsmoke, Bat Masterson, The Lawman, and The Rifleman were just a few of the famous westerns that are still shown in re-run's on almost every cable and satellite system available. My personal favorites were: Gunsmoke and The Rifleman, just to get my "two cents in."

Old West icon, Wild Bill  Hickock.
Old West icon, Wild Bill Hickock. | Source

The plots that were written

for these Westerns were believable enough in the beginning. If it had not been for us growing from our child-like innocence, believing everything on television, to reaching adulthood when reality was similar to a grandfather whose steps although slow, but caught up to us to open our eyes to the truth about television shows and how they were written.

"It's tough finding out that not everything in early Westerns was just make-believe."

- Kenneth Avery, 2016

If you were a citizen of the Old West, you owned a horse.
If you were a citizen of the Old West, you owned a horse. | Source

In Old West Westerns

there were plenty of horses for the Western-lover. And plenty of wagons with or without a covering for fans of Wagon Trail starring a stern Ward Bond, once a very-noted Hollywood actor who is still known for his role in Sargent York, starring Gary Cooper.

I loved Roy Rogers' horse, Trigger, the Lone Ranger's horse, Silver, his partner, Tonto's horse, Scout and so on and so on. Some Hollywood writer or producer must have seen a light bulb go off over their head because the scripts were sometimes written to make these hero's horses have impressive talents and able to follow the most-complex commands.

One horse even his his own show. Do you remember, My Friend Flicka? I do. Horses, wagons, and a simple life for everyone who lived and worked in the Old West in Hollywood's viewpoint.

Clint Eastwood sealed his Hollywood fame by portraying The Outlaw, Josey Wales.
Clint Eastwood sealed his Hollywood fame by portraying The Outlaw, Josey Wales. | Source
Two ways for men to make a living in the Old West was raising sheep or cattle.
Two ways for men to make a living in the Old West was raising sheep or cattle. | Source

It wasn't too long

before more bucks were made available by Hollywood film studios, MGM, Paramount and the Hollywood film standard, Warner Bros. Studios who churned-out television westerns by the boxcar for every week's devoted fans of the Old West shows they sunk millions into producing not just for our enjoyment, but for the hefty advertising revenue made from successful Westerns as:

  • Cheyenne -- with Clint Walker
  • Bronco - - with Ty Hardin
  • Rawhide - - with a young Clint Eastwood.
  • Maverick - - with James Garner, Jack Kelly and a young Roger Moore.
  • The Rifleman - - with Chuck Connors and Johnny Crawford.
  • Gunsmoke - - with James Arness, Amanda Blake, Milburn Stone, Dennis Weaver and Ken Curtis.

to name just a few of the block-buster television Westerns that I grew up loving.

"If I had been born in and grew up in the Old West and had to punch cattle or herd sheep to make a living, I had much rather find work in a store, bank, or early newspaper that came to the Old West. I love animals too much to see them slaughtered for food or clothing."

- - Kenneth Avery, 2016

James Garner, left,  and Jack Kelly  as Maverick which also introduced us to a young Roger Moore, a Maverick cousin.
James Garner, left, and Jack Kelly as Maverick which also introduced us to a young Roger Moore, a Maverick cousin. | Source

And if you were migrating

to the Old West from "back East," as most Western folk would say, you would have to either work on your own farm to have food and shelter or raise sheep or cattle for necessary cash to live a good, easy life on the Western plains that soon became the Sante Fe's and Dodge Cities of Western folklore.

Were these occupations a lot of fun with the guys? No. Hardly anyone had any fun except for how Hollywood wrote the drunken fights that cattle drover's would eventually start when turned loose into a town such as Dodge City, Kansas, after a three-month drive through all types of weather, personal conflicts over grub, money, and a trail boss who treated the men like dirt. Yes, the saloon owners, (e.g. "Kitty Russell," aka/ Amanda Blake, on Gunsmoke), sure made the dough alright. All that they did was nod to the tough "bar keep," (e.g. "Sam," played by Glenn Strange, Gunsmoke), and out came his double-barreled shotgun and out went the troublemakers.

If things got really rough, in walked a stern "Matt Dillon," played by a stern-talking James Arness who was perfect for this part, and things quietened down for a little while or in Western-speak, "for a spell."

Of course, you had to have a pet dog with a catchy name, "Blaze," or "Butch," to make your family complete.
Of course, you had to have a pet dog with a catchy name, "Blaze," or "Butch," to make your family complete. | Source
Cattle drovers, ranchers both cattle and sheep, had to contend with all types of hazards including poisonous snakes.
Cattle drovers, ranchers both cattle and sheep, had to contend with all types of hazards including poisonous snakes. | Source

Be honest. Did you love Westerns like I did?

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I said all of this to say

that there were

Things I Still Wonder About Life in The Old West

Things such as:

  • You never saw "Gil Favor," aka/ Eric Fleming, trail-boss on Rawhide actually pay his men. Or get those huge bucks for all of the cattle he delivered to the cattle towns.
  • "Lucas McCain," never missed when challenged to a gunfight outside in the middle of North Fork, where he and son, Mark aka/ Johnny Crawford would visit occasionally to buy supplies and to have dinner at "Miss Hattie's," a boarding house in the town.
  • "Matt Dillion," aka/ James Arness never lost a fist-fight. In my older years, I would have loved it, even for the reality factor, if he had lost just one fight.
  • "Matt Dillion," aka/ James Arness never made his move on "Miss Kitty," aka/Amanda Blake.
  • What happened to all of the cattle that the drovers would always lose during a sudden lightning storm or certain stampede?
  • Why did Will Hutchins, aka/ "Sugar Foot," always study to be a lawyer, but never took a test to be a lawyer?
  • The shoot-out's were pretty much the same. Some rowdy gang would storm into a peaceful town sending the fearful townsfolk into hiding while the brave sheriff and his one cowardly deputy would make a stand against the rough gang, but from there it was a lot of falling off horses, rolling in the dirt streets and the sheriff and cowardly deputy shooting at them at point blank range and MISS.
  • If true Western men and women literally drank as much whiskey as they did on some of these Westerns, hardly any of them were alcoholics. All except "Louie," the town drunk on "Gunsmoke."
  • Where did the gang who ran "Wagon Train," end up each week? I never knew. Did you?

And the number one point of aggravation about Life in The Old West was:

"Why doesn't someone in Hollywood today, in 2016, start remaking some of these classic television westerns and leave the story line set back in the Old West, not politically-correct as we have had it drilled into us in 2016?"

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Comments 6 comments

Sparrowlet profile image

Sparrowlet 8 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

Trigger! I forgot about him! This hub is so very amusing, at least for those of us old enough to remember all these wonderful shows! I'm afraid that genre won't be coming back and, if it did, it would probably be watered down to political correctness, as you say. Thanks for the memories this hub brought back to me on this COLD Cape Cod evening!


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 8 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

My Dear Sparrowlet,

Thank you a bunch for this sweet comment which made me very happy to have published it last night.

I agree with you on the idea that if Westerns were to make a comeback, society and special interest groups would ruin them as you way with "watered down" plots and such.

Oh, you like in Cape Cod?

You are my only follower up there.

You are a follower right?

If not, I cordially invite you to be one of my followers.

Have a peaceful, safe Thursday.

Kenneth


Sparrowlet profile image

Sparrowlet 8 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

Yes indeed, I'm a follower! I like Cape Cod, but not this time of year! It is FREEZING up here!


PAINTDRIPS profile image

PAINTDRIPS 8 months ago from Fresno CA

Who could forget Trigger and Dale Evans horse, Buttermilk? That was a great horse. I loved when Roy Rogers would pray every week Trigger closed his eyes and bowed his head like he was praying too. Now there's a horse! I think the problem with remakes is that those old Westerns often had some racist things against Native Americans and Oriental immigrants that just wouldn't fly today. Nice thought though.

Blessings,

Denise


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 7 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hello, sweet Sparrowlet,

"Thank YOU Sincerely for the following and that you live in a place I used to dream about. The lobsters there, I've read, are THE BEST.

Oh how I would love to devour even a "bootlegged" lobster, hey, a hub idea. Forget my cardiologist and living longer. LOL.

I get so excited at just knowing that you are a follower.

Stay warm. Drink cocoa.

Your Friend for Life and write me anytime,

Kenneth


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 7 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hello, PAINTDRIPS,

You are so right. Buttermilk WAS a great horse. So were the vintage Westerns. I have to agree with your thinking about those racist views on some of the Westerns, but if "I" were rich and powerful, I would buy my own film studio, supervise scripts, and make absolutely sure that the Westerns you and I, plus Sparrowlet, like, were honest, fair, and clean for the entire family.

How 'bout them apples?

Write Me Anytime.

Kenneth

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