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Pictures Spoil Cowboys

September 1, 2011

In a compliant reminiscent of that of the Native Americans who petitioned congress to censor negative representations of their people in the movies, their co-stars in western dramas, the cowboys apparently took issue with their representation on film, and the cowboys-turned-movie-stars who perpetuated these stereotypes.


“Oregon ranchmen have a brand new plaint; it is that the moving picture show is spoiling the cowboy,” said a westerner.

“Film makers demand their services and pay them handsomely for riding bucking horses in front of the moving picture camera or for taking part in an alleged ‘western drama.’ The cowboys like the idea.

“The old ranchers are sort and ill conceal their hostility. They declare the pictures only make ornery cowboys and give easterners wrong ideas of life in the cattle country.

“As a matter of fact, they say, riding bucking horses is but a small part of a cowboy’s life. As for the traditional western drama, where the rancher’s daughter marries the heroic cowboy who foils the traditional ‘gun fighter’ of the frontier, the dwellers of the range country have only contempt.”

– LeMars (Iowa) Semi-Weekly Sentinel (1 September 1911).

I wonder if this is how the citizens of New Jersey feel about Jersey Shore?

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