Cowboys & Indians

Cowboys & Indians 

This lecture explores how the Spanish wrangling of horses becomes the launch pad for the United States Cowboy mythology, the economic and political reasons Americans begin eeking out a living by moving cattle between the Southwest and Illinois, and how their passage along cattle trails helped established towns such as Dodge City, Fort Collins, Saline, Santa Fe, and Denver.

The cowboy mythology owes its roots to early Spanish settlers who were moving cattle since the early 1530s in the Americas. It was in the 1800s that Western expansion brought the cattle drives to the attention of Americans who took it on to create new revenue.

Tensions between American Indians at the cattleman helped shape mythologies. The cowboys and Indians grew in popularity along with stories about cattle towns, such as Dodge City, Cheyenne, Fort Worth & Las Vegas. Those stories were retold again with the advent of mass media.

The radio and cinema drew inspiration from cowboy myths. Hollywood films where the celebration of outlaws (out/law = criminals) was normalized. Nashville, Tennessee extended cowboy mythology by metamorphosis, exchanging a horse and gun with a guitar-slinging “new cowboy” was born.




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