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Cowboys

January 30, 2024

It is hard to not love the American Cowboy! For more than a century the romantic notion of the cowboy has filled every form of entertainment in the world. From the early 1850’s featuring penny dreadfuls and dime novels the genre has outlasted all the critics and recently proved its staying power with the television series “Yellowstone”!

Every generation has yielded harsh criticism, yet the category of entertainment expands to upend the criticism through popularity with ordinary people. Why and how does it persist? I think I know the answer to that question because of my close association with cowboys from multiple eras. I comes down to a code of living that each generation of cowboys is keenly attuned to.

It begins with self-reliance and accountability to a code that is understood by your peers and often is an unspoken or seldom uttered recognition of the difference between a good guy and a bad guy. While that seems simplistic, I wonder if the stories of Louis L’Amour, Zane Grey and Larry McMurty don’t do justice in proving my point.

In the United States of America, we are always looking for the hero, the enemy and the story where we can root for the good guy, the underdog and the unlikely winner of the people’s affection! It almost becomes a love story for the ages because we come to love the characters. But they are always beholden to a deeper level of responsibility to the code.

The code is very similar to something I teach young people about every week. In my seminars, online classes and speeches I just say: “Do the right thing! If you don’t know the right thing, do the best right thing! If you can’t figure that our ask someone you respect to help you choose the right thing!”

If you don’t believe westerns are here to stay, go look up these names: Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Tom Selleck and now Kevin Costner. I think time is on the side of the cowboy!

January 30, 2024

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