My post on Cowboy Rules caused a bit of controversy. As many pointed out, they could be rules for much of Rural America, from the South to the less populated Midwest to Minnesota. Although I don’t see why geographic location should exclude someone from claiming to be a cowboy. Cowboy is a state of mind. And if I can aspire to Cowgirlhood — with two New England parents, an Ivy League education and several years lived in Europe– well anyone who works hard enough at it should be able to claim cowboy status. After all, George W. Bush worked hard to project a cowboy image and he, like us, had a ranch with no livestock but terriers. But this situation did set me off looking for a more truly Cowboy source for some cowboy guidelines.
Turns out there are a lot of lists out there. I found everything from The Texas Rangers’ Deputy Oath (meaning the Lonesome Dove style Texas Rangers, not the ball club) to Wild Bill Hickok’s Deputy Marshall’s Code of Conduct. (Did Wild Bill follow any code of conduct?) Anyway, there was one list that I particularly liked. It’s from my Dad’s childhood, but still seems to have relevance for today. So I offer you:
Gene Autry’s Cowboy Code
- The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man or take unfair advantage.
- He must never go back on his word or a trust confided in him.
- He must always tell the truth.
- He must be gentle with children, the elderly and animals.
- He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
- He must help people in distress.
- He must be a good worker.
- He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action and personal habits.
- He must respect women, parents and his nation’s laws.
- The Cowboy is a patriot.
I don’t know about you, but Gene’s the kind of guy I could ride with. Although I’d be interested in Willie Nelson’s Cowboy Outlaw Rules.
Can I hear a Ti-Yi-Whoopie-Whoopie-Yay, Saddle Pals!
Willie Nelson’s Cowboy Outlaw Rules
I just had a vision of a bunch of crusty ol’ ranchers and stockmen trying Willie’s recommended brand of smokes. That would stir things up at the ol’ sale barn.
Someone put together a book of snippets of Willie’s lyrics (which can be pretty philosophical) called The Tao of Willie. But I imagine Willie’s advice on the subject would be:
“You don’t mess with a man’s chew or a man’s smokes.”
Gene’s the man! His museum is a must see when you’re cruisin’ down the I-5. I love that place. I kick myself every so often for not traveling to Victorville when Roy Rogers was still alive. He would sometimes come out and visit with those enjoying his museum. All his good have since been moved to Branson. I’ve even heard that Trigger was recently auctioned.
Both Gene and Roy were excellent role models. If I had to choose, I think Roy was my favorite since I coveted Trigger from an early age.
It seems to me that cowboys and boy scouts are similar. Simply stated: Be good.
Considered printing “Roy Roger’s Riders Club Rules”. But they were very similar to Gene’s. And Gene’s were surprisingly more progressive, especially with Rule 5, given that he was at his heyday in the 30s and 40s.
And thanks for reminding me of the Autry Museums, which are more a celebration of the full spectrum of life and legends in The West. The upcoming exhibits certainly look worth a visit: http://theautry.org/
this brings me back to my childhood. I remember my mom having a Gene Autry album — a true gentleman in every sense of the word 🙂
LOVE both posts 🙂
I love Gene Autry’s rules, even though I don’t think I’m much of a patriot. Ah well.
I’d also be interested in Willie’s rules. I imagine that some of them are a tad different.
Love the new look of the blog! Fancy Schmancy.
Oh yeah – I was also happily surprised by #5! GO GENE AUTRY!