Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Celebrate National Day of the Cowboy

National Day of the Cowboy comes this year on Saturday, July 24, 2010. I’m inviting western writers and fans of western writers to observe the day here at Buddies in the Saddle with a Fictional Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Novels and short stories about the West have helped preserve the values observed in the Code of the West. I’d like everyone reading this to recall the most memorable cowboy characters that western writers have created. And I’m asking you to say a few words about the one character you believe best exemplifies the Code of the West.

Here’s a list of some of the tenets of the Code:
  • Don't inquire into a person's past. Take the measure of a man for what he is today.
  • A cowboy doesn't talk much. He saves his breath for breathing.
  •  Do not practice ingratitude.
  •  Complaining is what quitters do, and cowboys hate quitters.
  •  Always be courageous. Cowards aren't tolerated.
  •  A cowboy always helps someone in need, even a stranger or an enemy.
  •  Give your enemy a fighting chance.
  •  Real cowboys are modest. A braggart is not tolerated.
  •  A cowboy is loyal to his "brand," to his friends, and those he rides with.
  •  Honesty is absolute. Your word is your bond, and a handshake is more binding than a contract.
  •  Live by the Golden Rule.
You will find more at the legendsofamerica website.

All nominations for Fictional Cowboy Hall of Fame will be assembled and posted here at Buddies in the Saddle on National Day of the Cowboy, July 24, 2010.

Please join in
Describe a character from a western novel or short story you believe best exemplifies the Code of the West. Word length is not important, but 50-200 words are about right. Include the name of the character, the author and the title of the novel or short story, along with the reason for your choice.

Post your nomination as a comment below. Deadline: July 20, 2010.

Photo credit:

Coming up: Reviews of Garden of Evil and Rawhide


  1. Ron, I have to vote for Will Penny. The movie was based on one segment of a series called The Westerner. Sure shows the loyalty and honesty of the cowboy. According to Wikipedia, Heston said it was his favorite film, bar none, and that means he rated it higher than The Ten Commandments or Ben Hur. That's saying a lot for Will Penny.

  2. I must visit Legends Of America twenty times a week. Top resource.

    Interesting that my mind wanders to Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. Interesting because Earp was not a fan of the term cowboy and hunted a group of them during his famous ride.

    But for books, the latest Robert B. Parker series featuring Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch sum up the code you speak of.

  3. I vote for Hashknife Hartley, a character invented by long time western author, W.C. Tuttle. Hashknife was a rangeland detective who often worked for such organizations as Cattlemen's Associations. He appeared as the lead character in dozens of stories, serials, and books, mostly from such pulps as ADVENTURE, SHORT STORIES, WEST, and WESTERN STORY, during the 1920 through 1945 period. He certainly observed all the tenets of the Code of the West, as listed above.

  4. I'd vote for Edge - the series character from George Gilman - he may in fact be an anti-westerner but they were damn exciting books.

  5. I wish to vote for the film, "The Ballad of Cable Hogue". Why? Jason Robards played the character to a tee! Rough, honest? He paid his debts, loved his women, never demanded too much, and lived his life!

  6. Great idea Ron. I look forward to participating. I don't think it would be any surprise to anyone if I nominated Sonny Tabor.

  7. You can't get much more "Code of the West" than the Lone Ranger.

  8. At the risk of being accused of self-promoting, I'm going to nominate my own characters, Texas Rangers Jim Blawcyzk and Cody Havlicek. They exemplify the "cowboy code": loyal family men who love the law, fight outlaws and enforce justice throughout the Lone Star State. Both are main characters in a series of novels.

  9. Thanks everybody. The ballot box is still available for more nominations. And picking characters you've created yourself is absolutely fair game.

  10. Hi All,
    I nominate Louis L'Amour's many manly protagonists. The man filled the pages of most of his novels and short stories with bold, rugged characters trying their best to be their best. Borden Chantry, Jubal Sackett, Conagher, and on and on. Solid men, all. And while we're at it, LL created a whole wagontrain-load of strong, independent frontier women, too. But can I choose just one Louis L'Amour character? Yes: Tom Radigan of the novel ... RADIGAN. Good stuff.


  11. Since no one else has yet, I'm also going to nominate Shane. Jack Schaefer's character epitomizes the cowboy code. The novel was required reading in my Catholic high school. It's unfortunate it still isn't.

    Jim Griffin

  12. Ron, I plan on joining in on this. I will also post an announcement on Laurie's Wild West before the event. This is a great idea.

  13. Wow, what a task. There are so many characters that I admire. John Wayne's 'Capt. Nathan Brittles in "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" is one I love. Jimmy Stewart in "Bend of the River" is another. The one I have to go with is William Tell Sackett, Louis L'Amour's most enduring hero of the Sackett novels. Tell Sackett is my choice.
    Lee Pierce