Myths About American Cowboys

The lone cowboy is an American myth. Cattle were always driven by a group of DROVERS. The cattle were branded so the owner could distinguish his STEER from the rest. Several times per DRIVE, cowboys conducted a roundup where the cattle would be sorted and counted again.

Work was very difficult. The workdays lasted fifteen hours, much of which was spent in the saddle. Occasionally, shots were fired by hostile Indians or farmers. Cattle RUSTLERS sometimes stole their steers.

One of the greatest fears was the STAMPEDE, which could result in lost or dead cattle or cowboys. One method of containing a stampede was to get the cattle to run in a circle, where the steer would eventually tire.

Upon reaching Abilene, the cattle were sold. Then it was time to let loose. Abilene had twenty-five saloons open all hours to service incoming riders of the long drive.

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