More Than Gunslingers: What Hollywood Gets Wrong About The West
The way Hollywood portrays something is, mostly NOT TRUE!
The movies you grew up with bend and twist reality to make the story they are telling pleasing, and look good on screen.
Here are a few myths about Wyoming and the West that Hollywood gets wrong.
1). The West was mostly white people and different cultures did not get along.
Actually, most white people and Indians got along just fine. As for diversity, Rock Springs Wyoming had a mix of White, Black, Asian, Slovakian, Fin, and Norwegians.
In fact, Rock Springs Wyoming had as many as 56 different nationalities in a town of just over 10,000 people. That was actually typical of a Western town way back then.
2). Everybody rode horses or had a horse and buggy.
Don't forget the camels. Yeah, you read that right. Camels were brought to the West by the U.S. Army because they figured the beast would to better in western climates. They did. But over time the horse won out.
The last camel sited in the West was in 1941 in Texas.
3). The West was a violet place filled with gun violence, RIGHT?
Actually, America is much more violent today than it was back then.
Yes, the West had some famous gunfights, but mostly the towns were quiet. Sorry to report that very few bank robberies ever happened. The few outlaws that became famous are so well known because there were so few of them.
YES, there were lots of guns in the old west. That's partly why things were so quiet. Everybody could defend themselves if a bad person showed up.
In every Western movie, you hear the cowboy say WHISKY or see him drinking a beer at the bar. Actually, it was hard to get good drinks like that back then. So most alcohol was made from local berries or grains. What was consumed at local watering holes tasted more like a wine cooler.
5). Natives, before the white man.
It is estimated that over 100 million Indians lived in North America before the white man arrived. Then the Spanish came to explore and left behind diseases like smallpox. That wiped out about 80% of the population in a very short period of time. They never recovered.
The ones up in the northeast lived in log homes. The southern Indians had mud-and-mortar houses. Midwest tribes and log and dirt homes and towns and even farms. YES - they all had towns. West coast natives had stone and log homes. Planes Indians had teepees because they followed the buffalo herds.
These tribes warred over land. They made slaves of women and children. Women were considered property, like horses. They even committed genocide to kill off competing tribes.
We could talk about it more.
The point is, if you really want to know history, don't watch a Hollywood movie.