The Washington Gazette

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The Washington Gazette

Post by Admin on Fri Sep 11, 2015 3:53 pm

Article from the Washington Gazette

The 23rd of January 1874

Life of a Cowboy. From the stories of Nate Love called Dead Wood Dick in the Cattle County

By Sir Robert Crawford of the Journalistic Institute of Maryland

Here are the information you my readers may found interesting and though I myself believe they are a bit overblown as a recognized journalist and god fearing man I will relate them as truthfully as I am able. They come from numerous interviews of Nate Love while we took the train to Denver. He was sitting next to me and I decided to take the opportunity to expand my knowledge of the west and its emblematic Cattlemen. That and to keep my mind from the stench that emanated from the man.

So let us delve into the matter.

What is life like for cowboys in the Weird West?

The cowboy’s life is full of hard work, low pay, and little sleep especially at roundup time or on a trail drive. He rises before the sun, has a quick breakfast of bacon, beans, bread and coffee, then saddles up for another 18 hour day on his horse. He might catch a few hours sleep on his bedroll under the stars, but if its his night to tend to the herd, sleep has to wait. I don’t know how they survive it though I myself am a light sleeper and hard working man as the numerous articles can attest.

Cowboys/cattlemen/ranch hands come from many walks of life. They are often retired lawmen, civil war veterans, or outlaws, bandits and gunslingers looking for a change. They are a hard bunch of men, with many differing opinions and often don’t get along with each other. Fights among cowboys are a regular occurrence and the trail boss needs to be tough to be able to deal with any uprisings without loss of human life or more importantly livestock.

Back at the ranch, the workdays are just as long, and the living conditions worse than out on the range. The cowboys and ranch hands share a small bunkhouse, which is usually draughty and leaks in the rain. It is cold in the winter and stiflingly hot in summer. The beds are plagued with lice. Then as he tells it there is the smell! And sitting next to him I struggle to imagine what a horrible smell is to this man. Try to envision a roomful of men who have been working hard with horses and cows all day. They might wash once a week in the summer (if there was a lake or stream nearby or a tub big enough to bath in), otherwise they just wouldn’t bother. In the wintertime most would not even think about it until the spring.

Nights are a lonely time for these men. If he isn’t catching up on lost sleep, the cowboy spends his free time playing poker, or holding a Cattle court, where a cowboy is put on trial for some obscure charge like oversleeping and his fellow cowboys hold a mock trial and carry out the sentence, probably involving throwing him in the horse trough.

Of course and though Mr Love wasn’t very forthcoming about it I have, with my many years of journalism and very acute senses of deduction, understood the importance of the women in their lives. From my other discussions with passengers I have concluded that almost all of the Cowboys pay goes into cheap whores and booze. It is no wonder that the saloon in the west have become more brothels and game pits then the restaurants and parlors more civilized men like us retreat to when in need of entertainment.

On more remote ranches, the cabin door is left unlocked, and a cowboy passing by can help himself to a meal in return for performing a few odd jobs such as mending fences, repairing the cabin or chopping wood.

Many cowboys died young. Accidents on the trail drive claimed lives, as do Indian skirmishes and disease.

Mr Love also admitted that shoot outs between rival ranches are responsible for the deaths of many cowboys.

I pray as I finish my article for Mr Nate Love that the railroad companies bring civilization quickly enough to the west as his their mandate.

You will find my next article in a few weeks on just that. The importance of the railroads in the west. I have accepted to interview one of their most important representant in Denver to that effect though I must keep his name a secret for now.

More to come dear readers


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