Friday Fun Facts- Git Yer Gun And Head West Young Man

Good Morning! I am in Dallas this morning. It has been one more trip in a summer filled with trips all across the United States, but mostly in the great state of Texas. Seeing the miles drift by my car window inspired this week’s Friday Fun Facts. I bet I know some things about the Wild West you don’t! Come see-

Cowboys, in silhouette, against a dawn sky in Montana

Cowboys, in silhouette, against a dawn sky in Montana

  1. The Wild West was found in the lands to the west of the Mississippi River. The time frame was between the last part of the 19th century and the early bit of the 20th.
  2. Manifest Destiny was the birth of this interesting time. It said that it was inevitable and divinely ordained that the lands be claimed and settled. Folks set out on horses, wagons and even on foot! A terrible number never made it, but those that did made history.
  3. While this time helped create what we know as the United States of America, it came at a terrible price. This expansion resulted in brutal times between the people heading west and the Native Americans. Blood ran freely on both sides. Sigh. Thinking about this breaks my heart.
  4. A philosophy that we still see in many of the Western states is the right to bear arms and defend their property to the death. Hence, the Wild part.
  5. The Southwest used to home hundreds of feral camels! Maybe John Wayne could have ridden one. He would have been historically accurate. Our government thought they’d fare better in the extreme temperatures of that area, then the Civil War happened. Chaos ensued and the camels got out. For over a hundred years, it wasn’t unusual to see camels roaming about in Texas!camel-collage.jpg__800x600_q85_crop
  6. Hollywood shows the Wild West as a bunch of white guys with a few token Native Americans, African Americans and maybe a couple of Chinese. WRONG! The Wild West was a huge bowl of multiculturalism!Rock Springs, Wyoming sported over 56 nationalities in a town of only 10,000. Shockers, Hollywood is not always accurate.
  7. Here’s a hot topic. Gun control. One might assume there was no gun control back in those wild times, but you’d be wrong. In fact, the gunfight at the OK corral broke out because Wyatt Earp was trying to enforce a no carry law. Wichita and Tombstone also had laws making it illegal to carry a firearm and they were harsh in maintaining it. At the moment, Tombstone have less-restrictive carry laws than they did back in the Wild Wild West days.22-1280N
  8. Hollywood strikes again. We think of the Wild West as a time and place full of bank robberies, shoot outs, brutality, and all round lawlessness. WRONG! Geez, they just didn’t get it. While there were the occasional bad guys, most problems were worked out without bloodshed. Life was harsh enough without killing everybody over some slight. Bank robberies were not nearly as frequent as we think. One historian writes that there were only around a dozen during this whole period. The highest annual death rate in Tombstone? Five.
  9. Shootout at the OK Corral didn’t even take place at the corral. It happened in a back alley. Only three guys died. Most ran away like little girls.
  10. Wyatt and Doc Holliday were arrested for murder. Wyatt Earp lost his job as sheriff and one of the dead guys was shown to be unarmed. Oops. The charges were thrown out but over 300 mourners showed up and over 2000 lined the road for the funerals of the dead men.Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp
  11. Billy the Kid wasn’t left handed.
  12. The Long Branch saloon shown in Gunsmoke really existed. The original served milk, tea, lemonade, sarsaparilla, alcohol, and beer. Hmmmmm
  13. Cowboys wore cowboy hats. Nope. They wore pretty much everything but the iconic hat we all associate with cowboys. Wild Bill Hickok wore a woman’s “flat-pancake” hat. Billy the Kid wore some kind of messed up top hat. Most common was the bowler hat.

    No historical value- just really nice to look at.

    No historical value- just really nice to look at.

2 Responses to Friday Fun Facts- Git Yer Gun And Head West Young Man

  1. Will Graham says:

    This is FASCINATING stuff, Stacey! I see more research in my future…. !

  2. I live to serve, William!

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