The NRA , guns for everyone including school kids and armed teachers, loves to cite the old west for their comfort food on the issue of gun control. Well I hate to tell them that’s where the idea of gun control first held sway. Wherever an old west town grew up and got law and order one of the first if not the first laws they passed was all weapons had to be checked upon entrance into the town’s city limits. Why because they knew from bad experience that guns were used to kill their citizens if left unchecked and open carry was allowed. Duh!
And the old west scenario of the gun-slinging cowboy is another myth that needs debunking. It didn’t exist. Real cowboys didn’t pack guns for several reasons. The first was they were too heavy and they often would go off at times that were not preferred and when you are a working cowboy (and my Dad was) you always prefer a rope over a pistol and rifles if carried at all remained in the shoulder hostler on your saddle and were used only in instances of need, such as to destroy a wounded animal or for the collecting of game necessary for food.
“Given a choice a real cowboy will always opt for a riata (rope) over a gun, because that’s what they make their living with.”
Real old west cowboys (of which Dusty was) were working cowboys not ‘Drugstore Cowboys’ of the Dime Novel genre.
Billy the Kid wasn’t a real cowboy he was born in New York City (New York City?) and most of the gunslinger’s famous and not so famous seldom worked as real cowboys because for the most part they were too lazy to do the real work of a cowboy which was hardscrabble and paid between $15 and $30 a month with room and board. Gunslinging paid considerably more (if you lived to collect it).
Real cowboy’s actually had cow manure and horse shit on their boots and were proud of it as my dad used to say. They only got duded up for special occasions like funerals and weddings and not much else. And guns were not their preferred choice of weapons. They could subdue cows, critters, horses and varmints with a rope a lot easier than shooting them to death. And the myth of deadeye dicks hitting a running target while riding their ponies is absurd on the face of it. A lot of would be cowboys found out much to their chagrin and sometimes their pain that trying to hit something or someone from a horse at full gallop was another Dime Novel myth invented by people like Ned Buntline and would often lead to the only person or thing being injured – the person shooting or their horse.
So when the NRA tries to sell you the myth of noble frontiersman take it for what it is a fool’s idea that has no real basis in fact! Come on NRA you can do better than that!