Unbelievable Real-Life Photos Of The Wild West
When you think of the old Wild West, your brain probably conjures up images of shootings, outlaws, cowboys and Indians all pasted onto the backdrop of a deserted saloon backdrop. The movies have had a lot to do with this image of the Wild West, where old Country-Western films have greatly exaggerated the West for dramatic effect.
Have you ever wondered what the so-called Wild West actually looked like in real life? Let’s see whether the West is really like it was in the old films with these unbelievable real-life photos from back in the day.
Real Life Cowboys Ran the Streets
We simply couldn’t start an article about the Wild West without mentioning cowboys! Amazingly, real-life cowboys roamed the West, herding their cattle from land to land like travelling farmers. Despite not looking as dramatically rugged as is portrayed in the films, the jeans, leather, wide-brimmed hats and massive guns give these guys a pretty fearsome and distinct image!
Fortune Tellers Were Popular
Fortune telling was extremely popular in the Wild West, where women like the one pictured would travel around to houses and saloons reading people’s fortunes from tarot cards or their palms. These women made their living on the road and would charge a few coins for each person whose future that they told. Superstition was rife during these times, which the fortune teller cleverly capitalised on.
The Local Saloon
This picture of a real-life saloon shows how the movies were quite accurate with this one! We would love to have had the chance to visit a saloon just like this one, and we’re guessing that the inside of this joint is decorated in a really cool, authentic western way. The outside of this old saloon looks like the perfect place for a good ol’ shootout- we wonder did many happen, or is that the movie geek in us talking?
Now here’s an unconventional side to the Wild West that the movies leave out! Unbeknownst to most people, it wasn’t the men who did all the shooting during this time. He’s an old photo of a famous female shooter, Annie Oakley, who used to do performance shooting for audiences all over the West. Oakley even joined the famous Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, which shot her to fame across the US.
Native Indian Clothes Were Popular
Despite being offensively represented as naked savages in many Western movies, Native American people took great pride in their native dress at this time, as can be seen from this beautiful young girl. This girl is a member of a Sioux Native American tribe and wears the traditional headband and poncho of her people. This is a far more accurate representation of these people versus the movies.
People Weren’t Always Fighting
Contrary to what the movies might lead you to believe, cowboys and Native Americans were not always trying to kill one another! This cool photograph shows two native American men relaxing calmly with a cowboy American on some hay bales in the sun. Just goes to show how the media can skew our perception of history, eh?
Sex Work Was Popular
Interestingly, sex workers were kept very busy during the peak of the Wild West and would visit saloons and bars to pick up men. This amazing photograph shows two women getting ready for their night’s work, and shows just how much lingerie has changed since then! By today’s standards, these women are extremely covered up and modest whereas back then these outfits would have been scandalous.
Harsh Living Conditions
When thinking about the chaos and debauchery of the Wild West, it can be easy to forget that these places were actually extremely tough terrain to live on for the most part. This image shows how many horses were needed to transport goods across the desert while mining for gold, and really highlights just how scarce the natural resources were during this time.
One thing that’s true for the majority of people living in the Wild West at the time was that the family and community were extremely important to them. This old photograph shows one family who lived during the time, posing for a photograph outside of their house. Photographs like this one were important as they highlighted the family’s important home values.
Cowgirls Were Real
It seems like cowboys are the only ones who get any coverage in today’s modern media, but did you know that cowgirls existed in the Wild West, too? Pictured here is one cowgirl, and how cool does she look? Back then, wide-brimmed hats and tasselled leathers were not just a fashion statement, but the uniform of the Western cowgirl. More coverage of these amazing women, please!
Sources: allthatsinteresting.com, truewestmagazine.com, hollisteroutlook.club, artsfon.com, storiesflow.com, sonofthesouth.net, science-a2z.com, getmaude.com, eternallifestyle.com, theexploress.com, efunbay.com