The Wild West

The Wild West. Gunfights, shootouts, holdups, hangings, and train robberies.

NOT!

The “Wild West” began around 1862, when the Homestead acts were passed in America. These acts were instated by the government, and gave away acres of western land to people who agreed to settle there. This was a way of spreading the civilization of Americans westward. It seemed to be a great advancement, but due to the fact that they were taking up much of America’s Native American-claimed land, it actually marked the start of the Indian wars. These were a series of wars between the Native Americans and the American settlers, during which both sides really got out of hand, and treated one another really unfairly. That is most likely where the Indians come in to all the legends of the Wild West. There have been many stories told about the Wild West, all the way from the tales of Jesse James and his gang, to Back to the Future III. However, nearly all of them are quite exaggerated and untrue. In reality, the civilization of Western United States was not an easy life. It was full of hard-working men and women, trying to make a living for their families. There were shootouts and gunfights and holdups, of course, but they certainly weren’t an everyday scene, in fact they were quite rare. One reason we have so many tales and legends in which these things happen as though they are daily routine, is because of real Wild West outlaws, such as Jesse James and Billy the Kid. They both lived on the run from the law, Billy actually was imprisoned many times, but escaped each jail he was locked in. These were the kind of people who caused the shootouts and holdups and robberies. The good guys existed too, Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill Hickok, etc. A lot of people named Bill. They were the ones whose job it was to stop the shootouts and holdups and robberies. Most of the stories we know today are actually a result of Buffalo Bill and what he called his “Wild West Show”. This was a touring show, that depicted exciting gunfights and train robberies and things. Some famous people featured in the show were Wild Bill Hickok, Annie Oakley, and Will Rogers. This show got the settlers in the East even more excited about the West, and it’s legends have lived on for ages, and ages to come.

So, although the “Wild” West was more like the “Hard Working Trying to Make a Living and Sometimes Quite Boring” West (Which doesn’t quite have the same ring to it), many events and seemingly insane happenings in the stories and tales today are in fact based off of actual history. It might not have been wild all the time, but it was still the Wild West. Gunfights, shootouts, holdups, hangings, train robberies, and good, hard working men, trying to do their families and their country a little bit of good.

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