~ by Kathryn Albright
The iconic American Cowboy on screen…
You may think Sam Elliot. You may think Tom Selleck…or Clint Eastwood (or his handsome son, Scott.) And then there is John Wayne. But the one who paved the way for all others and perpetuated the myth and way of life of the American Cowboy was Gene Autry. He was born in 1907 and grew up in Oklahoma and Texas. He started off on records and in radio shows as “Oklahoma’s Yodeling Cowboy” and then moved to movies, served in World War II, and then brought his vision of the American West to television. He is the only person to have five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- The cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage of his enemy.
- He must never go back on his word or a trust confided in him.
- He must always tell the truth.
- He must be gentle to children, elderly people and animals.
- He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
- He must help people in distress.
- He must be a good worker.
- He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action and personal habits. (Some sources simply say – He must neither drink nor smoke.)
- He must respect women, parents and his nation’s laws.
- The cowboy is a patriot.
The Cowboy Code sounds a lot like the Boy Scout Pledge to me.
Times have changed from the white-washed cowboy of yesteryear. Many of us like cowboys who are not so perfect. For me…I like my cowboys with a bit of a stubble on their handsome face and a few scars from their past to keep them tough, and humble, and wiser than the average Joe. They also need an understated sense of humor, a respect for the land and a sense of how to live off it if necessary.
How about you? What is your vision of the perfect cowboy?
Kathryn Albright writes stories for Harlequin Historical about her perfectly imperfect cowboy. Her latest is The Gunslinger and the Heiress.
Her stories have finalled in the Golden Heart and received the Holt Medallion Award of Merit.
Follow Kathryn on Amazon at her Author Page!