While on a cattle drive, did cowboys wear their handguns or store them?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org