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Old November 11, 2011, 12:23 AM   #6
James K
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 24,139
In the days of the cattle drives and the open range, a cowboy made $.50 a day; a soldier made about the same. A semi-skilled worker made about $1 a day, $2 or a bit more for someone like my grandfather, who was a master mason.

A Colt SAA cost around $16, or a full month's wages for a cowboy, and the reason why, Western movie nonsense aside, not many cowboys owned those guns. The ones who did carry guns often had those cheap guns we now scorn, $2 solid frame revolvers and the like. It is also worth noting that handguns were banned on many ranches. Ranch-owned rifles would be given out when the cowboy rode herd to keep off predators (including Indians), but if a cowboy showed up for work with a handgun, he had to turn it in to be kept in the safe until he left the employ of the ranch.

Nor did an ordinary cowboy own a horse or a saddle. Both usually belonged to the ranch and he took whatever the wrangler put out that day. On the plus side, he got his meals and his bunk free.

Jim K
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