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"Whaddya doin?" The army scouts wanted to know, as Ed Schieffelin led his mule out of the army post at Fort Yuma, Arizona Territory.

"Headin' out fer some Prospectin," answered Ed, and a soldier hurrumphed. "All yer'll ever find in them hills," he said, "is yer tombstone."

But Cowboy Ed found silver. Lots of silver. And before it played out the silver mines would pay out a billion dollars at today's value.

And when it came time to stake out a town, to support the thriving mines there was only one choice for a name: Tombstone. In the years to follow more than 30,000 miners, thieves, gamblers, gunfighters, merchants, shady ladies, and the like swarmed the boom town. Including Wyatt Earp and his brothers, Doc Holliday, Bat Masterson and the infamous Cowboys led by Old Man Clanton and Curly Bill Brosius.

Picture: Ed Schieffelin

"Hands up!"

The first cowboy to utter these immortal lines was Old Bill Miner. From 1861 - 1911 Cowboy Bill robbed trains and stagecoaches in the American and Canadian West.

In 1906 the old cowboy was sentenced to life. He told the Canadian judge, "No jail can hold me, sir." Over the next 4 years, Cowboy Bill, escaped 5 times.

Old Bill

Cowboy Wild Bill

After shooting Jack Straw, a well known bad cowboy, Wild Bill Hickok bought a round for the bar, and the town band struck up a tune. A hastily convened coroner's jury, took one look at the dead cowboy and asserted, "Served him right, and so we declare." 

The Deadman's Hand

Wild Bill Hickok Poster

The first competitors at the inaugural Calgary Stampede (1912) were mostly working cowboys. American Cowboys won most of the competitions, but the crowd favorite was a local cowboy. Tom Three Persons got out of jail just hours before riding the most notorious saddle bronc of the day, Cyclone, to a standstill.

The Calgary Stampede Parade

Cowboys love poker. . . .and the reason old west cowboys called the poker they played, "Faro" was because the most popular playing cards used pictures of Egyptian Pharaohs for the face cards. 

Faro Cards.

The Wild West

The Code of the Old West

In the later part of the 19th century swarms of American Cowboys went north following the shrinking cowboy frontier. And in Southern Alberta the Montana Whiskey Traders established their headquarters and aptly named it Fort Whoop-Up.

The whiskey trade and Fort Whoop-Up were the reasons the Canadian Mounties were formed in 1873. By the time the Mounties found the Whiskey Traders stronghold, it was the late fall of 1874.

When the Mounties pulled up in front of Fort Whoop-Up, Colonel Macleod had the field artillery set up and he and his cowboy scout; Jerry Potts, rode forth. Macleod and Potts stood in front of the forts' walls and hurrahed the cowboys with their intention to reduce Fort Whoopup to rubble.

No response.

Finally Potts rode up to the door and loudly knocked. To their surprise a scraggly bearded Cowboy answered the door. The Cowboy invited the Mounties to join him for supper, seems the Whiskey Traders had no stomach fer a fight and had bailed out a few weeks before. 

More Old West History

Aces and Eights


Jerry Potts - Cowboy Scout
Mountie, "What's over the next hill?"
Potts, "A'nudder hill."


Mounties on review: Fort Calgary 1875

Yellowstone Kelly
Poster: Jesse James
The Slim Jim Holster - the Classic side-arm holster of the early west.

Most men - including Texas Rangers - who could afford a holster would have used this style in the early days of the western frontier. Shown here with a Remington 36 cal. black powder pistol, with a 7 1/2" barrel. Holster above is a left draw and can be worn on the left hip, on the right for a cross draw or on the right for a right handed "Twist" or "Cavalry" or "Hickok" draw. Shown plain - no adornment - in a deep saddle brown color. Our Holsters are Top Quality - made for life-long use. We will custom make to accommodate the make and calibre of your side arm. Other colors available click for more. 

Slim Jim

Sassy Ladies Cowboy Hats

Why should men have all the fun?
Over the years, many of the wives and girlfriends that have ordered hats for their cowboys, have asked when we were going to do some strictly ladies hats. - so here we go, and remember ladies; back in the day all women's hats had the bow on the right.

Exceptional Service from The Last Best West
Ladies, we will give you expert personal service designing your Traditional Old West, or Classic Western Movie Hat. If you don't see what you want - send us a picture - and we'll make our version of that hat.

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