Like so many children of the post-depression era, I became an avid fan of movie cowboys. Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger and of course the many characters played by John Wayne filled our Saturday matinee time at the Roxy Theatre in Maple Shade. And yes, my friends and I played cowboys and Indians and sheriffs and marshals versus gunslingers and stage coach robbers.
In the late 1800s, the prospects in the western part of the United States drew thousands of new residents yearly, seeking to
stake their claim on unexplored, undeveloped territories. Over a century ago, however, moving wasn’t as easy as calling up for a U-Haul and putting down a deposit on a new apartment. Along the way to Utah, Colorado, California and the like were bandits, giant swatches of nothingness, and natives of the land not eager to give way to new settlers. As these real photos of the Old West will show, there was a different way of living in this unexplored land.
Pictures of the Wild West include the only known photo of Billy the Kid, bluffs and rocks in the uncharted territories, public hangings, parks, settlements, and even some photos of Buffalo Bill’s Wild Circus. There’s no denying, after seeing this Wild West photos, that the real America of the 1800s was nothing like the best Western movies.