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The Way of the Old West


The Old West was a melting pot of folks from different walks of life.  These
folks decided to move west for a number of reasons:  to start a new life, to
help open up a new land, to run from the law or trouble, or just to change
of life.  

The West had no room for the lazy and weak, and they were weeded out by
the land.  The people of the west had zero tolerance for lazy and weak folks, mainly because those kind of folks were a danger to others as well as theirselves.  No one in the old west asked questions, no one even cared what
your name was, a man or woman was judged by hard work, honesty, and
courage.  A man's word was good as gold and he was expected to live up
to his word if he gave it, if not, it turned into a shooting matter real quick.

A man did not harass or molest a woman in those days, he would find
himself hanging from the wrong end of the rope or shot on sight if he
harmed or molested a woman in any way, even women who were abusive
were respected to a point.

A man was judged on how he worked, no one cared what he did in the past
or back east, as long as he carried his own weight and worked hard, no one
asked any questions.  A man who approached a night camp did not walk
right in, he "hailed" the camp first to let the cowboys or ranchers know he
was there.  One did not approach a camp without giving notice, a man could
get shot that way.  Once invited into the camp, he was usually fed, drank
coffee and rested, sometimes staying the night.  When a man left the camp,
he would say he is going to "Lit or light a shuck"  which in the older days when a man left a camp at night, he would use a corn shuck, (the center of a corn
cob) as a torch to light the way.

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The Gunfighter:  This was a man who for the most part earned a reputation
he did not want.  He was naturally good with a six-shooter, or pistol.  He had
excellent hand-eye coordination which made him quicker to the draw than the average cowboy.  The gunfighter usually did not hunt trouble, he sometimes was a law-abiding man who was not somebody to push into a fight, especially if you did not know him.  The gunfighter did not scratch notches in the pistol
grips, that was a "tinhorn" trick to keep count of how many men he killed.   He was also not a braggart.  One well known man who earned the reputation was
Lance Kilkenny.  You can read about him on the internet, see my links page, and Louis L'Amour wrote three stories using Kilkenny as the main character, but L'Amour researched Kilkenny and used that in his stories.

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The Outlaw:  This was a man or woman, such as Calamity Jane, who strayed to the wrong side of the Law.  They were usually cattle rustlers to bank robbers.
Some law-abiding men who were unwillingly pushed into the life of an outlaw becuase they killed the wrong man in a strange town in a fair fight, but the guys brothers did not see it that way, nor cared, so he did what he had to do and hit the outlaw trail.  The Outlaw Trail was a trail in the mountains that ran from Mexico to Canada.  Another favorite hideout of the outlaws was called the Hole in the Wall, a hard to find place that no lawman dared enter.
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