And what is the story really?
First of all, cowboys are very much alive. There’s still a very big cowboy culture and cowboy community in the United States. You can find thousands of rodeos on a weekend during the summer. This culture spreads all the way from Florida to California, from Montana to Texas, and all the states in between. They’re men and women of all backgrounds who have been living this way of life for the past one hundred and fifty years. Pretty much unchanged, but in the shadows of the nation’s consciousness and in the shadows of the world’s consciousness. And I wanted to go and find out for myself what the real cowboy is like.
And what did you find?
A cowboy is a man or a woman who works very hard to look after their cattle. It’s a man or a woman on horseback, with their dogs, driving their herd. That’s the true definition of a cowboy. And they live in mostly untouched, vast, incredible landscapes. Landscapes that are iconic. It’s the frontier, the American West, the land of freedom and independence. For a lot of us, it’s the American dream. And that’s where you’re going to find these hard-working men and women who we hear nothing about but who are putting food on American tables.
That sounds like a life that is far removed from the modern world.
Of course, they have cellphones and trailers and other things that they didn’t have a hundred years ago. But the fact is that a cowboy still works in the same way they did a hundred and fifty years ago. When you’re in the middle of nowhere caring for your cattle, the only way to get there is by horseback, and the only way to do your job is with your hands. And when you’re out in the middle of nowhere, your phone has no reception. There is no Uber, there is no Amazon, there are no stores. It’s just you and these incredible landscapes, with your horse, your dogs, your herd.