While on a Cattle Drive, Did Cowboys Wear Their Handguns or Store Them?

ask the marshall true west

While on a cattle drive, did cowboys wear their handguns or store them?

Bill Calloway
Wilmington, Delaware

Whether or not a cowboy wore his weapons while on a cattle drive depended on the circumstances.

If the herd was nervous because of the weather, or they weren’t trail broken yet, a pistol came in handy when trying to turn a stampeding herd. And if drovers anticipated problems with rustlers or American Indians, packing a weapon was a good idea.

However, if the cowboys were in an area deemed safe from danger, or they were branding cattle, a gun might be more encumbrance than benefit; they’d stow the weapons in a sack or the chuckwagon.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book is Arizona Outlaws and Lawmen; The History Press, 2015. If you have a question, e-mail him at marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu

Related Posts

  • marshall trimble ask the marshall true west magazine

    What did cowboys typically eat on a cattle drive? Wes Shinn Saratoga Springs, New York…

  • nelson story true west

    Nelson Story was already a wealthy man in 1866.  He’d moved to Montana a few…

  • marshall trimble ask the marshall true west magazine

    What did cowboys do after reaching the end of a cattle drive? Wes Shinn Saratoga…