The Wild West covered an area that began across the Mississippi River. Currently, a number of states are located there: North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Kansas, Colorado, Texas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and others. In the 19th century, adventurers left the overpopulated east of the United States in search of new lands, the most desperate of them reaching the Pacific coast. In just two decades (from 1840 to 1860) more than 250, 000 people moved to the West. But, not everyone managed to overcome the difficult path, many died from hunger, disease, or were killed in clashes with the local population - the Indians.
9 interesting facts about the Wild West
- In 1862, a law was passed that allowed a US citizen over the age of 21 to receive up to 160 acres of land. All they had to do was pay a registration fee of $ 10. At this time in the United States there was a Civil War between the North and the South. Since 1860, the country's president has been Republican Abraham Lincoln, a fighter for the emancipation of slaves. Therefore, for everyone who wanted to get land there was a prerequisite - he should not fight on the side of the South. At the beginning of the 19th century, the population of the Wild West was no more than 10 percent of the total population of the United States, and by the middle of the century it was almost half.
- The main source of information about life in the Wild West is film stars, the very first of which is the silent 12-minute film "The Great Train Robbery", which was filmed in 1903 by director Edwin Porter. For more than a hundred years, a huge number of films about the life of the Wild West have been released on screens. Moreover, the overwhelming majority of them are pure fiction.
- Cowboy William Frederick Cody, better known as Buffalo Bill, is a true Wild West legend. There was a legend that he was only in 1867 and 1868. shot more than 4, 000 bison, providing meat to Pacific and Kansas Railroad workers. A few years later, Buffalo Bill retrained as a showman, organizing the Buffalo Bill's Wild West ride. The show was hugely popular in the United States, and spectators could watch horse races, rodeos, shooting, and even theatrical performances about life in the Wild West.
- Bison were hunted at that time on such a scale that these animals were on the verge of complete extermination. American workers and the army were supplied with meat, and some of the production was even exported. Clothes and shoes were made from skins. Up to two million animals were killed annually. The bison was saved from complete destruction only after the organization of national parks.
- Jeans were the cherished dream of Soviet youth. But in the Wild West, they were the most common work clothes. The Belgian Leiba Strauss, who arrived in the United States in the middle of the 19th century, set up the production of durable canvas trousers for cowboys and gold miners. For work, they were very convenient and practical, but to appear in jeans in society was simply not considered decent.
- Not all cowboys had their own horses, but rather a stereotype borrowed from films. Horses were not cheap then; not every cowboy could afford such a purchase. Therefore, they used, most often, master horses, which were provided to them only for the duration of their work. Stealing someone else's horse was considered a terrible crime in the Wild West, a horse thief could easily be shot or hanged. And cowboys could not afford whiskey often. Firstly, this drink was expensive, and secondly, the cowboys worked most of the day, therefore, they had neither time nor money to sit for hours in saloons. They drank beer more often than whiskey. By the way, the very first saloon of the Wild West was opened in 1822 in Brown Hole.
- In 1964, Czech filmmakers shot a parody of Westerns called Lemonade Joe. The main character of the picture does not drink anything except lemonade, for which he received his nickname. All residents of a small town in the Wild West Lemonade Joe encourages to follow his example, as a result opens a thriving establishment - a bar of soft drinks. despite the uncomplicated plot, the film received several awards at international film festivals.
- Barbed wire was invented in the Wild West. The patent for the invention was granted in 1874 to the American farmer Joseph Glidden. Herds were fenced off with barbed wire, and it became so widespread among farmers that Joseph Glidden became one of the richest people in the United States, his fortune was estimated at $ 40 million.
- The position of sheriff in the Wild West was one of the most dangerous in the 19th century. According to statistics, in Texas alone from 1869 to 1878. more than a hundred law enforcement officers were killed. It often happened that not only the sheriffs themselves, but also members of their families became victims of bandits.