They were simple, direct men.
They believed in things like liberty and minding their own business.
When the first cowboys were herding longhorns up the Chisholm Trail from Texas to Kansas they were a pretty tough lot, but they had to be. It was a rough era in our history. There was no room for nuance or no time for luxury.
Out of the lives of these cowboys have come all sorts of stories and legends, Some true and some fiction. But the most authentic and dependable evidence of what the cowboys really were has come from the artists who pictured them in their true environment, risking their lives in stampedes, freezing or sweating, under the stars, by lonely campfires, rowdying in saloons, fighting, branding and whooping it up around the chuck wagons.