Here were their laws.
This era, which lasted only 50 years, became a myth of American culture, laying the foundations of many modern things and processes. It has everything: cowboys, bandits, wars with the Indians and with each other. But the real image of America of the nineteenth century looks quite different from how we used to see in movies. The wild West really was wild.
All we knew about Wild West from movies and mass culture — not true
It just so happened that the main source of information about the Wild West for the modern man — the movies-westerns. It should be noted that almost all of the significant westerns were filmed by Italians, not Americans. As a result, we see a significant change in the real historical images. First of all: real cowboys were not heroes, but ordinary shepherds, chasing cows back and forth across the plains. Second: cowboys never fought with the Indians. “Redskins” oppressed by all and Sundry bandits, smugglers, more than others, of course, the us army, but not the cowboys. And yet the cowboys never had those famous duels in the middle of the Central streets of the town. Anyway their weapons, they were getting extremely rare.
The man was not considered a man without weapons
Since we’re talking about guns. It was in the days of the Wild West was all. Really at all. The man could not be considered a man if he didn’t have “colt”. And, of course, it had to be able to shoot. This is not as rosy as in movies westerns. Of course, there were many people who knew how to delicately handle the revolvers and get into the wing of a fly from 50 meters. But the bulk of the population owned firearms at a level sufficient for hunting and home protection. By the way, since the days of the Wild West in America, the tradition is sure to keep guns in this house.
The law established not by the government, and private offices
The bandits and outlaws of the Wild West in large cities were quite rare visitors. At least because in these cities the police do provide security. You need to understand that no warning shots and long negotiations did not practice. If you are someone robbed or worse killed, you just shot without warning. Therefore, the majority of criminals prefer to dwell in the countryside. Here they are quite successfully engaged in cattle rustling, robberies of trains and banks. American officials in places almost was not. Law and order was placed in the hands of private security agencies, the so-called “land offices”. They traded their extra-territorial jurisdiction and coping with law enforcement functions.
The bandits supported the image of the Avengers
Not the best level of public order was due to the fact that many bandits have successfully manipulated the fear of his pursuers. For example, they claimed that if the Sheriff is chasing him, then he would kill his entire family. To kill day and night, to hunt, to track, to destroy all his relatives. And, I must say that sometimes it was not an empty threat. Therefore, many sheriffs would prefer not to mess with the bandits.
White does not always win in battles with the Indians
In those westerns the American army always emerged victorious in all confrontations with the Indians. In fairness, I must say that quite often it was so. But not always. One of the greatest defeats happened in the summer of 1876 when the combined forces of the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne were against the seventh cavalry regiment of the United States army. This battle became known as the Battle of little bighorn. The forces of the parties initially were not equal, the Indians were almost three times more: 650 soldiers against almost 2000 Indians. The famous commander George Custer could not help even heavy artillery. A few hours, there were terrible bloody battle, which resulted in the victory of the Indians.
Scalp began not Indians
And so as soon as we started talking about the Indians, not the superfluous will tell about the most famous of their “custom” — removing the scalp from their victims. How strange though it may sound but scalp started white hunters “Redskins”. The thing is that in the late nineteenth century, Indians started a real mass persecution. They were rounded up and shot like some wild animal. And this was done not only by the regular army. Genocide willingly participated by a huge number of mercenaries, because for each dead Indian you can obtain from the government a whopping $ 25. It is only necessary to prove the fact of murder. And the most reliable way to do this is to bring in as evidence the dead man’s head. But to carry the head too troublesome, they are difficult to transport and take up much space. Much easier just to remove from his head the scalp, throw it in the bag, and then bring in the grant money. So goons did. And the Indians just have to pay them back in their own coin.
Decent people never wore jeans
Today it sounds quite funny, but in the mid-nineteenth century, no decent man would not allow himself to appear in public in jeans. Then they were worn only by cowboys, miners and slaves. Jeans have emerged as a cheap, practical work clothes for work on plantations in the South Caribbean. From there they later came to the southern States, and then dispersed throughout the country. Moreover, the first samples of the jeans were white. To paint them started already then.
The cowboys were a very peculiar code of honor
As we have seen, real cowboys have virtually nothing in common with the image that was created for them in the film westerns. The cowboys were quite poor class of the population. Most often they were employed on ranches and pastures, even without a horse. Nevertheless, cowboys have been my real honor code, which all members of the profession tried to keep. In particular, the code strictly forbidden to shoot an unarmed man and absolutely never allowed to shoot a woman. The cowboy never had to try on a strange hat, and riding a strange horse and even equated sex with another man’s wife. The thief was allowed to hang without any hesitation and remorse, and leaving the city after a stormy weekend it is permissible to shoot from a revolver into the air and madly to scream. It was called “honor” of the city.
Some of the pioneers had to eat people
An example of a “black” satire in the title. In fact, no “party” there is, of course, was not, and indeed had no fun. Party Doner or in the original Donner Party — a terrible story that happened with a group of American pioneers who traveled by wagon train on one of the famous trails to California in may of 1846. The usual journey to the West, so in those days took 4 to 6 months. But the group led by George Donner and James reed went a new, longer route, through the dangerous mountain ranges. It was there, in the Sierra Nevada due to a series of failures, mistakes and breakdowns carts, the group had to stick around to spend the winter of 1846-1847. 87 people trapped in the mountains, 4 long months of trying to survive and wait for rescue. Managed to do only 48 of them. Some members of the group in order to survive had to eat their dead comrades.
Buffalo destroyed millions
Terrible uncontrolled mass hunting of Buffalo, which began in the 1830-ies and nearly led to the complete disappearance of this species in all of North America. Traditionally, Buffalo were one of the most important animals to ensure the survival of many Indian tribes. The Indians hunted them for food, clothing, shelter, tools and utensils. But I always kill as much as you need to meet their vital needs. But the white American trappers and railway companies began poaching of bison mainly for their skins to supply the army and sending them to Europe. If at the beginning of 1800-ies killed about 200 thousand Buffalo per year in the period from 1870 to 1875 was annually killed about 2.5 million Buffalo. As a result, the number of bison declined from 30 million in 1800 to less than a thousand by the end of the century.
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