Adam Ruins the Wild West

Nov 27 2016

Saddle up for a wild ride through history as Adam reveals how prostitutes actually helped settle the West, why the all-American cowboy is a myth and who (or what) was the real hero of the West. Here are his sources, pardner.


“Frontier towns were industrial economies, where people came to mine or herd cattle. And many required visitors to check their firearms upon entering.”

Drogin, Bob. “Gun laws were tougher in old Tombstone.” Los Angeles Times. tronc Inc., 23 Jan. 2011. Web.

“This here town is for work. Not for gunplay. Take these instead.” 

Winkler, Adam. “Did the Wild West Have More Gun Control Than We Do Today?” The Huffington Post. AOL, 9 Sep. 2011. Web.

“Actually, most cowboys weren’t white at all. A third were Mexican. And a quarter were black.”

Haeber, Jonathan. “Vaqueros: The First Cowboys of the Open Range.” National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 15 Aug. 2003. Web.

Ponsford, Matthew. “America’s black cowboys fight for their place in history.” CNN. Turner Broadcasting System, 28 Nov. 2012. Web.

“That’s why so many cowboy words are derived from Spanish: lasso, rodeo, bronco, mustang, chaps.”

“How We Know The American Cowboy Is A Latino Invention.” The Huffington Post. AOL, 12 Dec. 2013. Web.

“See, for a long time, the American public thought of western settlements as trashy places. Buffalo Bill changed that with his touring Wild West show.”

“New Perspectives on the West: William F. Cody.” Public Broadcasting Station, 2001. Web.

“It’s good for psoriasis.”

Thurmon, Francis M. “The treatment of psoriasis with a sarsaparilla compound.” New England Journal of Medicine 227.4 (1942): 128-133.

“Men were so desperate for women they would pay to even see or touch a pair of women’s undergarments.”

MacKell Collins, Jan. “Soiled Doves.” True West Magazine. 30 Sep. 2013. Web.

“It was the influx of women that finally turned these barren work camps into bustling towns.”

Armitage, Susan H. “Revisiting ‘The Gentle Tamers Revisited’: The Problems and Possibilities of Western Women’s History: An Introduction.” Pacific Historical Review 61.4 (1992): 459-462.

“Madam Millie of New Mexico used her wealth to put local children through college.”

Birchell, Donna Blake. Wicked Women of New Mexico. Charleston: The History Press, 2014. Web.

“Colorado Madam, Laura Evens, provided worker’s compensation to injured men and sheltered victims of domestic abuse. “

Shovald, Arlene. “Learn the inside story of Laura Evans, local madam.” The Harold Democrat. New Media Investment Group, 24 Jun. 2015. Web.

“And Madam Diamond Jessie Hayman provided food and clothing to the homeless after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.”

Russell, Thaddeus. A Renegade History of the United States. New York: Free Press, 2011. Web.

“We may stay out of the Union 100 years, but we will come in with our women.”

Morrison, Patt. Lynne Cheney’s Wild, Wild West. Los Angeles Times. tronc Inc., 11 Aug. 2004. Web.

“Face it: If it weren’t for women, the West as we know it wouldn’t exist.”

“Women’s Suffrage: Why the West First?” National Endowment for the Humanities, 2016. Web.

“In fact, people given homestead land in the Mojave Desert quickly abandoned their properties. These places all turned into ghost towns.”

Martin, Hugo. “Tug of Wear Over Desert Homestead Shanties.” Los Angeles Times. tronc Inc., 1 Nov. 2004. Web.

“Nevada’s exploded by almost one THOUSAND percent.“

Lang, Robert E., and Kristopher M. Rengert. “The hot and cold sunbelts: Comparing state growth rates, 1950-2000.” Fannie Mae Foundation (2001). Web.

“Buffalo Bill’s rodeo shows had whetted the public’s appetite for tales of the frontier, and from the silent film era thru the 1950s, one out of every five movies made was a Western. “

 Schatz, Thomas. “Cowboy Business.” New York Times Magazine. The New York Times Company, 10 Nov. 2007. Web.

For More on This Topic

This feature in American Cowboy charts the history of the vaqueros who shaped cowboy culture as we think of it today.

Our expert Jan MacKell Collins has written several books about women in the American West, including Extraordinary Women of the Rocky Mountain West and Red Light Women of the Rocky Mountains.

Steven Johnson’s book and documentary series How We Got to Now tells the story of how air conditioning and other technological innovations shaped modern American life.