Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1875 American cowboy
>>>>primary sources

Subject: cowboy
Culture: Western American
Setting: range wars, American West late 19th-early 20thc.

* Amon Carter Museum
"Charles M. Russell (1864-1926)  Bested, 1895  Oil on canvas ...
Vigilantism was common on the Montana ranching frontier in the years prior to Russell's arrival; an effective system of law enforcement had not yet been established.  Although Russell approved of implementing measures to achieve justice, he wryly maintained that he had known a number of people who had found themselves on the other side of the law.  This painting was reproduced in Western Field and Stream for September 1897, along with a caption explaining that it depicted a real event -- the surrender of a notorious gang of cattle rustlers to a volunteer force of cowboys and ranchmen.  Interestingly, Russell chose to rendner this event from the perspective of the defeated wrongdoers, and his characterization seems sympathetic to their plight."

* Amon Carter Museum
"Charles M. Russell (1864-1926)  A Tight Dally and a Loose Latigo, 1920  Oil on canvas ...
Nancy Russell, who owned this painting until her death, had her own description of its subject.  She noted the cowboy's horse had a rope hackamore instead of a bridle on its head, so it was probably newly broken.  A big yearling has run into the taut rope, forcing the horse into a side pull and turning the saddle over, because the cowboy has 'taken his dallies,' or wrapped the rope tightly around the saddle horn.  The saddle is turning over because the latigo -- the leather strap fastened at one end to the rigging ring and at the other to the cinch  ring, holding the cinch tight under the horse -- has worked loose.  'The stirrups of the turned saddle are hitting the bronc on the hind legs,' Mrs. Russell wrote.  'He is starting to buck and the rider will have to get off or be thrown.'  Charlie Russell enjoyed such predicaments, and his painting is a masterpiece of the storyteller's art."

​* Fort Worth Museum of Science and History > Cattle Raiser's Museum
John C. H. Grabil, c1888" ...