The Cowboy Boot

Oct 09 2012

Gunfights and Duels in the Old West a Rare Occurrence

Published by Sigrid under cowboy culture, cowboys

Even if according to historical accounts not all cowboys of old actually were gunslingers and they all had to participate in duels like everyday of their lives –there are still those bandits and lawmen who made a mark in history just because they are larger than life. It’s not only Hollywood that made them so famous but historians as well because the way these men lived their lives is just something that is just so different than the lives of the regular folk who kept to themselves.

It makes them into characters that you would really want to pay attention to if you lived in that era. Ben Thompson for example –a gambler, gunfighter and law enforcement officer during a certain part of his life is a famous historical figure during that time. Thompson started his career as a gunslinger at the age of 17.

Known as rather fast on the draw, Thompson became rather popular among his peers especially after he killed two men on the Christmas Eve of 1876 during a shootout.

Another notable figure during those times is Wyatt Earp who is a famous man of the law and an accomplished gunslinger according to many historical accounts. It is said in many a history books that outlaws were afraid of him. He later on served as a sheriff in Tombstone where he engaged in a very legendary gunfight. Earp also spent a lot of time with Doc Holliday who is interestingly a real doctor hence the nickname. They went on a vendetta ride to kill those men who murdered Wyatt Earp’s brother Virgil and his friend Morgan.

These stories are rather rare though even if they are the stories we commonly hear about from that era. However, the popularity of these men is undeniable not only during those times but even today.

Jun 30 2012

Not All Good Men Remain Good – The Story of Texas Jack

Published by Sigrid under People to know, cowboy culture

Texas Jack Vermillion is one of the many infamous gunslingers in the Old West during the time of Wyatt Earp from all those cowboy movies.  Aside from being called Texas Jack, the Russell County born Vermillion was also Shoot-Your-Eye-Out Vermillion by many of those who idolized him in the West.

Born in the year 1842, one of 12 children, Vermillion served under General J.E.B. Stuart in the American Civil War. After that, John Wilson Vermillion went to Indiana and married a woman named Margaret Horton. The two later on moved to Missouri where the young Jack worked for law enforcement. He was the Territorial Marshal for Missouri’s eastern parts.

He and his wife had two children, one daughter and a son. It is unfortunate however that while Jack was away from home, eastern Missouri was hit with an epidemic and by the time the Territorial Marshal returned, his family has already succumbed to diphtheria. The grief stricken Jack headed west. He drank heavily to deal with his loss and he just gambled off all his money. It was in Kansas where he gained his reputation as a gunfighter and it was also in this place where he met the brothers Earp and their friend Doc Holliday.

A few years later, Vermillion sobered up and moved to Tombstone, Arizona to work as a policeman under Virgil Earp. The gunfight at the O.K. Corral against the Clanton Gang defined the lives of Earp, and of course the life of Texas Jack. The gunfight resulted to two of the Clanton Gang being killed. A year later however, Morgan Earp was murdered and this led the group to ride for vendetta. Today, this vendetta ride is known as the Earp Vendetta Ride.

He married again in the year 1883 and had two kids. It is interesting to note however that by the year 1888, he is back on the road with a gang of con artists. It seems that not all good cowboys and gunslingers remain as good men. Vermillion died in Virginia in 1911. It is said that he died in his sleep.

Photo via LegendsofAmerica.com

Jun 19 2012

Interesting Historical Facts About the Old West

Published by Sigrid under cowboy culture

When people talk about the Wild West, all one can think of are gunslingers, robbers, cowboys and dance hall girls who sold themselves for entertainment. There are other interesting things about the Old West though and this includes things that may surprise some.

Doc Holliday had an on-off girlfriend, her name was Kate Haroney more popularly known in the West as the notorious Big Nose Kate.

Doc Holliday earned a degree in dentistry but later on acquired quite a reputation as a gunslinger.

Although Wyatt Earp has always been depicted as a marshal in the movies, he and his brother Morgan were arrested a lot of times in Illinois because of pimping activities.

The Clanton brothers used to be ranchers and operated a freight company until the McLaury became their neighbors. The later on became outlaws and the group were known as The Cowboys.

Although Tombstone, Arizona seems like one big cemetery because of its name, it is ironically dubbed as the The Town Too Tough To Die.

Two of the Dalton brothers who are more popularly known as members of the Dalton Gang used to be law enforcement officers.

Jesse James befriended the founder and then editor of the publication The Kansas City Star who published articles and even letters from the outlaw proclaiming his innocence. This led to James being known more as a noble character than the criminal that he truly was. These letters were probably read by the young Bob Ford according to historians.

Jesse James was painted as the Wild West version of Robin Hood but there is no evidence that the gang ever shared their loot to the people.

Longbaugh more popularly known as the Sundance Kid got his nickname after he stole a horse in Sundance, Wyoming.

Known as Wild Bill, John Wesley Hardin claimed that all his 44 kills were all in self-defense. He became a lawyer later on.

Photo via speakin-colors.blogspot.com

Jun 06 2012

The Real Wyatt Earp – The Real Story Behind The Wyatt Earp Movies

Published by Sigrid under cowboy culture, cowboys

Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp was born on March the 19th 1848. He was a law enforcement officer as seen in the movies and he served in a number of Western frontier town. It is not that known however that Earp was also an American investor –a departure from his cowboy character as many a script writer will say. It is also interesting to note that Earp was also a saloon-keeper at one point of his life and also worked as a miner, a farmer, a bouncer and even a boxing referee. Earp however is popular for his participation in the gunfight at O.K. Corral wherein three outlaws were killed. It was a mere 30-second gunfight but this gunfight defined Earp’s life.

In fact, because of this gunfight, he was deemed as one of the toughest, nay, the toughest gunman and the deadliest one of his day.

Earp spent the early part of his life in the State of Iowa. He married but his wife died while she was pregnant only a year after she and Earp said their vows. In the next years after that, Earp looked for adventure, he was arrested, sued, escaped from jail and later on became a lawman. These things of course happened in different towns and not in one place –Earp after all was a gypsy at heart. It was in the winter of 1878 when Wyatt Earp travelled to Texas. He met Doc Holliday in Texas. Later on, Earp said that Holliday saved his life at one time. Since he kept on travelling, Earp went from one boomtown to the next so in the year 1879, he left Dodge City and went to Tombstone, Arizona with his brothers. The three invested in the Vizina mine and also got some water rights. This is the time where the three cowboys clashed with outlaws and since the brothers including their younger brother Morgan held positions as law enforcement officers, they clashed with the brothers Clanton and the brothers McLaury. The group threatened to kill the Earps but on October 26, 1881 in the infamous gunfight at the O.K. Corral, the Earps and Holliday killed three of the outlaws. Later on however, Earp’s brother Virgil was maimed while his younger brother Morgan was assassinated. This is where vendetta starts hence the many Earp movies.

Photo via wikimedia

Jun 03 2012

Hottest Cowboys in Pop Culture

Published by Sigrid under Cowboy Boots, cowboy culture

Cowboy culture may come from centuries ago but this doesn’t stop anime makers to base some of their stories on cowboys. In the Japanese anime titled Cowboy Bebop is a story set in the year 2071 where a cowboy rides a spaceship called Bebop.

Odd isn’t it? But this doesn’t steer clear from the Cowboys and Aliens theme. What makes cowboys so irresistible not only in the movies and in cartoons but also in real life? One blogger asked, is it their chivalry? Or is it their rough natures? Some fashionistas on the other hand say that it could be that they look awfully good in tight jeans and boots.

Whatever the reason behind their appeal, here are the best looking cowboys in pop culture. Happy trails everyone!

Kevin Costner’s Wyatt Earp

Of course the Old West gunman was probably not as sexy as Costner but the idea of a gunman in cowboy boots is just dreamy. And him being a law enforcement officer just makes things better too!

Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer

They looked hot in Tombstone especially if they got rid of those mustaches. The outlaw duo are just one of the few cowboys in cinema that the ladies love.

Brad Pitt as Jesse James, Cassey Affleck as the Coward Robert Ford


Oh yes, Brad Pitt can never be outdone as a cowboy when it comes to good looks and great acting. Angelina Jolie is one lucky woman. Jesse James is one badass but one can notice that Robert Ford played by Casey Affleck looked quite good as a cowboy as well even if the character itself was flawed. This is one good cowboy movie and the boots, suits and cowboy hats just made the ladies’ hearts melt.

Owen Wilson in Shanghai Noon

Sure it’s a comedy but Owen Wilson does make a pretty good looking cowboy, don’t you agree?

This list should also include Jake Gylenhaal and Heath Ledger in that rather controversial movie –Brokeback Mountain.

Photos via wonderwall.com and listal.com