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 The True Code of the West

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Bud Brewster
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Age : 68
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PostSubject: The True Code of the West   Fri Jan 31, 2014 8:21 pm

The True Code of the West

The True Code of the West

An old friend of mine, a gunslinger called Texas Rex (his friends called him T-Rex for short) once told me that certain things were always true in the Old West, and a cowboy could count on these hard and fast rules just as surely as he knew the sun sets in the west and dance hall girls were always pretty.  Or at least, pretty easy.

Here's a few examples of the True Code of the West.
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If you pointed a gun at somebody, they had to do everything you said – even if you were outnumbered ten-to-one and they knew you'd never kill anybody in cold blood.  A gun was like a remote control – just point it, give a command, and everybody obeyed.

Horses were a much more reliable form of transportation than today's cars.  Their fuel (grass) was plentiful and free, their exhaust (manure) actually promoted the growth of their fuel, and if you turned a stallion loose in a pasture filled with mares, they would actually produce new horses.

Horses never needed to rest.  They could gallop for miles without becoming winded or needing food or water.  And despite the fact that horses sweat . . . they never did.

The sheriff in any given town was either an honest man or the pawn of the local cattle barren. If he was honest, he was either the hero of the tale or he was dead shortly after the hero rode into town.  Exceptions to this included stories in which the hero was Tim Holt, in which case the sheriff was a dummy who could be tricked into letting Tim and Chito Rafferty out of jail so they could bring the bad guys to justice quicker than you could say "Drop your gun, you varmint!"

If the best friend of the hero was much older than him, the friend was short, heavily bearded, wore a floppy hat and baggy pants, spoke in a scratchy voice, and constantly used expressions that made very little sense, like "Well, I'll hornswoogled!"

The faithful girlfriend of the cowboy hero was always a respected woman in the local community and the best look gal in the whole town.  She always wore tight, low-cut dresses which bore no resemblance to the pioneer fashions shown in today's history books.

When the hero got pinned down in the rocks by the gunslingers working for the ruthless owner of the biggest ranch in the territory, the gunmen demonstrated their amazing marksmanship by ricocheting bullets off the rocks six inches from his head. They never accidently missed the rocks – or hit the hero's head.

The bartender in the local saloon was the lowest man on the social totem pole.  Everybody told him what to do. He took drink orders from the customers, got bossed around by the cowboys, and never got to drink when the cattle baron shouted, "Drinks are on house!"  On the other hand, when the sheriff said –   "Everybody, out of here!  This place is closed for the night!" – the bartender had to make all the guys go home to their ugly wives and think about voting for somebody else in the next sheriff's election.

If the sheriff in the town was basically a good guy, his deputy would be fat, funny, and constantly spouting crazy quotes his daddy told him as a boy – things like, "My pappy told me once that if a rattlesnake can't figure out which direction to go, he'd end up tied in knots!"

But if the sheriff was a bad guy, his deputy would be lean, mean, and prone to make threatening remarks about how they were going to drag the good guy stark naked behind their horses through a mess 'a cactus.

The good guy always wore his gun belt high on this waist -- especially if he wore a two-gun rig.  But the bad guy's henchmen always wore their gun belts so low on the side they could barely reach them when the shootin' started.  This is largely the reason why the good guy won so many gun fights.

The local doctor was always an old guy who spent most of his time riding around in a buckboard making house calls on pregnant farmers' wives.  But when the shootin' started in town and somebody said -- "Get the Doc, quick!" – he would be right down the street in his office, ready to rush up to the body and pronounce him dead.

However, if the wounded party was a good guy, the local citizens would carry him to Doc's office, where the kindly old physician would keep him alive long enough for his attractive fiancé to arrive and listen to a stirring speech about how somebody had to stop the evil cattle baron so they could save the town.  

The evil cattle baron always had a devoted saloon girl who fiercely denied his faults and loved him in spite of the terrible way he treated her.  She would cling to the hope that he'd marry her some day, but in the end she'd jump in front of a bullet meant for him and die in the arms of the hero.  With her dying breath, she'd tell him where the cattle baron hid the stolen bag of gold that Rancher Smith was going to pay off his mortgage with.

Contrary to popular belief, the hero didn't always ride off into the sunset.  If he did that every time, he'd keep going further west until he found himself knee-deep in the Malibu surf.

The piano players in the saloons only knew two songs:  "Oh, Susanna" and "My Darlin' Clementine". If they tried to play anything else, somebody shot him and they got a new piano player.

The hero and his sidekick would always get the drop on a group of men who were about to hang an innocent man for the cattle he didn't really rustle from the herd that was actually stolen by the ruthless rancher from the meager stock owned by the very guy who was about to be strung up.  One has to admire the irony in this.

When the hero and his sidekick got the drop on a group of bad guys, they always made them throw their guns on the ground close by so the bad guys wouldn't have to go to far to get them back and then start shooting at the heroes after they rode away.  A cowboy hero is often polite to a fault.

All areas of the West bore a remarkable resemblance to Monument Valley in Utah, but erosion has removed the buttes and mesas from all the other areas today.  

The saguaro cactus grew in every Western state, even though it only grows in Arizona now.  Some experts speculate that they were eaten by the buffalo, which turned out to be fatal to both the plants and the animals in the states where neither of them now exist.
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These are just a few examples of what Texas Rex called The True Code of the West.  I'm sure the members of this board can add many more, and we're all looking forward to hearing them.
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