Wild West Photos That Depict What Life Was Really Like.

Wild West Photos That Depict What Life Was Really Like. March 31, 2023Leave a comment

We can thank comic strips, pop culture depictions, and hundreds of western films for giving us an idea as to what life was like in the Old West. But most of those things are inspired by legends. If you really want to see what the Old West was like, you need proof like these photos.

In 1851, Olive Oatman’s family was traveling to California when a tribe of Native Americans attacked them. Olive was captured along with her seven-year-old sister, who eventually starved to death. Olive was then traded to the Mohave people and spent five years among them. Over time, she became a part of the tribe, as you can tell from her chin tattoos. Now, if you have a fear of germs, you might not have enjoyed the Old West as much.

In the 19th century, bathing involved filling a tub up with boiling water and then scrubbing your body using a flannel and some soap. But the Cowboys were so nomadic that they rarely had access to tubs. So, instead, they took a dip in a river or lake to clean the stench and dirt off. You might know Buffalo Bill by name, but do you know what made him so famous?

Former Union Soldier William Cody founded “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West,” which was a circus-type attraction that toured the country and became an American icon at the time. It even toured Europe. The acts included sharpshooter demonstrations, gunfight reenactments, Native grass dancers and more. But when you think of the Old West, we doubt Chinese immigrants even cross your mind. But this next slide might make you change your tune.

In the 19th century, Chinese immigrants first arrived on the East coast to trade. But during the California Gold Rush, the immigrants headed west. At the time, Southern China was dealing with economic issues, prompting folks from Guangdong province to journey to California to dig in the gold mines. Did you know that the world’s oldest profession was? Apparently, they were quite popular in the mighty Old West.

Prostitution wasn’t just common in the Old West, it thrived. These two women traveled to Dawson City and Ketchikan in Alaska. Although the journey was tricky, most prostitutes traveled to the mining camps to offer their services to the men who were desperate for some TLC and had plenty of money to pay for it. This next photography suggests you’re seeing a young boy being a tough guy. But you’d be wrong, at least about the tough guy part.

Canadian Pearl Hart immigrated to a mining town in Arizona. But when the mine shut down, she also lost her job as a cook. Then she met an outlaw and the two embarked on a life of crime, which included stagecoach robberies. In her case, it was the last stagecoach robbery in recorded U.S. history. If you thought a road trip by car took forever, try taking one using a wagon.

There weren’t many roads in the 19th century, so thousands of Americans traveled from colony to colony from the East Coast and Midwest towards the west in search of other opportunities. In those days, families didn’t have a lot, so they packed their belongings in a wagon and took off across the Great Plains. This family was photographed taking a lunch break before continuing to travel. Did you ever stop to think who photographed people in the Old West?

John C.H. Grabill was a former miner and prospector who went on a journey to the Northwest to document the lives of those in the American frontier with his camera. Grabill took 188 photographs between 1887 and 1892, which he submitted to the Library of Congress, and became the most prominent photographer in the Old West. If you love wolves, be grateful these settlers didn’t succeed in making them go extinct.

From Central Mexico to the Greenland of North America, the gray wolf dominated this region. But when the European colonists got fed up with wolves attacking villagers and killing livestock, the colonists put bounties out on these creatures. The bounties continued until the 1930s, where wolves became more like big game trophies and less of a threat. Can you figure out when people from the Middle East first started migrating to the U.S.?

Throughout the 19th century, North America saw the infiltration of several celebrations and events that didn’t come from European cultures. Among them was the art of belly dancing, which came from Egypt. In fact, belly dancers performed at the 1876 Centennial in Philadelphia, but gained even more publicity during the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. If you went back to the Old West and wanted a drink, you’d probably feel super welcomed at their bars.

This photo shoes Kramer’s Saloon in Monroe Country, Michigan. Ironically, most saloons were designed to look the same in those days. But the alcohol was priced 30 to 50 percent higher than retail. Also, ladies were charged the same as men, but were actually given shots made of cold tea and tinted sugar. Now, what would happen if someone forced you out of your home and made you walk several miles into the desert?

In 1864, the Navajo were forced from their tribal lands in Arizona and forced to relocate to Eastern New Mexico by the U.S. government. This journey became known as the Long Walk, and took two years to complete. But the trip was horrible and resulted in disease, hunger, and violence. This reduced the Navajo’s population from 25,000 to 2,000. Want to see how photography has evolved since the Old West?

Prolific photographer Timothy O’Sullivan is known for taking 44 images of the Battle of Gettysburg, which included the first Civil War photos ever snapped. Employed as an expedition photographer in order to attract settlers, he used mules and a wagon, seen here, to travel with a mobile darkroom across places like the Carson Sink in Nevada. Now, you might be familiar with this group from various pop culture references.

In 1823, the Texas Rangers were founded to protect families who had just arrived in Texas. Their reputation for being brave, fearless, and duty bound preceded them. In the Old West, they were known for capturing and killing famous Wild West outlaws like Sam Bass and John Wesley Hardin. But can you imagine living in the Old West and getting lost in one of the hottest places on the planet?

Death Valley is located in eastern California and its name is well deserved. Travelers crossed through here during the California Gold Rush. But the journey wasn’t easy. In fact, the “Lost 49ers” were pioneers who became famous because they got lost and nearly starved to death in 1849. They arrived at Death Valley a day before Christmas and were rescued just in time by Mexican cowboys near the area we know today as the Santa Clarita Valley.

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