They were the quintessential American heroes: the embodiment of rugged individualism and independence. For 30 years, cowboys ruled the frontier, settling the American West and carving their way into American mythology forever.
The Golden Era of the American Cowboy was a powder keg of history--a period of conquest, war and money. In these brief but tumultuous years following the Civil War, men and women endured astonishing hardship and danger, from battles with Indians and outlaws, to nature’s own brutalities. Yet for a few extraordinary individuals, it was a time of incredible opportunity. Cowboys drove millions of steers from Texas along cattle trails to northern railroad heads. Their daring but solitary journeys established cowboys as heroes whose strength and character made them the ultimate icons of their time. But the hazardous frontier, where the law often amounted to little mor than a man with a badge and a posse, also bred some of America’s most infamous outlaws, whose reputations still inspire awe.