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"The Making of the Cowboy Myth" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP16 Oct 2020 4:14 p.m. PST

"It is rare to find cowboys on the silver screen who spend much time performing the humdrum labor — herding cattle — that gave their profession its name. Westerns suggest that cowboys are gun-toting men on horseback, riding tall in the saddle, unencumbered by civilization, and, in Teddy Roosevelt's words, embodying the "hardy and self-reliant" type who possessed the "manly qualities that are invaluable to a nation."

But real cowboys — who worked long cattle drives in lonely places like Texas — mostly led lives of numbing tedium, usually on the fringes of society. They were the formerly enslaved, poor farm boys, and downtrodden Native Americans. They enjoyed little autonomy on the trail. It was Hollywood, and men like Roosevelt, who whitewashed the cowboy, elevating him to the epitome of personal freedom, manly courage, and rugged ­independence…"


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Dennis17 Oct 2020 8:50 a.m. PST

The films Will Penny and Monte Walsh (both versions, but more maybe in the 2nd one) show some of the everyday life of a working cowboy, which is about all you could expect from any sort of entertainment medium.

The boring typical events of a cowboy's daily routine don't provide much to attract a film audience. Nor, for that matter, do the routine events of pretty much any job I can think of. The art of storytelling involves emphasizing the rare exciting bits and glossing over the boring (at least to an outside observer) stuff that constitutes the majority of everyone's life.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP17 Oct 2020 12:32 p.m. PST



Dennis19 Oct 2020 3:21 p.m. PST

Kinda like wargaming; emphasize the exciting stuff like battles, and omit the boring stuff like medical (and vet) services and supply.

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