Cowboy Codes of the West
These American cowboy codes of the west (authorship is unknown) were common sense approaches to cowboy and western etiquette. Many deal with horses, shooting and a little bit about how to act around women.
- Never pass anyone on the trail without saying "Howdy".
- When approaching someone from behind, give a loud greeting before you get within pistol shot.
- Don't wave at a man on a horse. It might spook the horse and the man will think you're an idiot. (A nod is the proper greeting.)
- After you pass someone on the trail, don't look back at him. It implies you don't trust him.
- Riding another man's horse without his permission is nearly as bad as making love to his wife. Never even bother another man's horse.
- Never shoot an unarmed man. Never shoot a woman at all.
- A cowboy is pleasant even when out of sorts. Complaining is what quitters do, and cowboys hate quitters.
- Always be courageous. Cowards aren't tolerated in any outfit worth its salt.
- A cowboy always helps someone in need, even a stranger or an enemy.
- When you leave town after a weekend of carousing, it's perfectly all right to shoot your six-guns into the air, whoop like crazy and ride your horse as fast as you can. This is called "hurrahing" a town.
- A horse thief may be hung peremptorily.
- Never try on another man's hat.
- Never wake another man by shaking or touching him. He might wake up suddenly and shoot you.
- Real cowboys are modest. A braggert who is "all gurgle and no guts" is not tolerated.
- A cowboy doesn't talk much; he saves his breath for breathing.
- No matter how weary and hungry you are after a long day in the saddle, always tend to your horse's needs before your own, and get your horse some feed before you eat.
- Cuss all you want, but only around men, horses and cows.