Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Code of the West

I ran across this today and thought that with all the whining and complaining we do in modern times (I admit, I do it), its certainly refreshing to look at how persons in the Old West conducted themselves, or were at least expected to conduct themselves. Going down the list, I certainly fall short in some areas, but then, times have changed and you can't really trust people the same way you could then (I believe). Anyway, I think most of the fellas on "The Wire" should take some of these to heart, I might like it there were these principles enforced there.

I took these from Legends of America website, the code was never penned in practice, author Zane Grey chronicled it in his novel The Code of the West.

  • Don't inquire into a person's past. Take the measure of
    a man for what he is today.

  • Never steal another man's horse. A horse thief pays
    with his life.
  • Defend yourself whenever necessary.
  • Look out for your own.
  • Remove your guns before sitting at the dining table.
  • Never order anything weaker than whiskey.
  • Don't make a threat without expecting dire
  • Never pass anyone on the trail without saying
  • When approaching someone from behind, give a loud greeting
    before you get within shooting range.

  • Don't wave at a man on a horse, as it might spook the
    horse. 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.
  • Always fill your whiskey glass to the brim.
  • Do not practice ingratitude.
  • 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
  • Never try on another man's hat.
  • Be hospitable to strangers. Anyone who wanders in,
    including an enemy, is welcome at the dinner table. The same was true for
    riders who joined
    cowboys on the range.
  • Give your enemy a fighting chance.
  • Never wake another man by shaking or touching him, as
    he might wake 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
  • Complain about the cooking and you become the cook.
  • Always drink your whiskey with your gun hand, to show
    your friendly intentions.
  • Be there for a friend when he needs you.
  • Drinking on duty is grounds for instant dismissal and
  • A cowboy is loyal to his "brand," to his friends, and
    those he rides with.
  • Never shoot an unarmed or unwarned enemy. This was also
    known as "the rattlesnake code": always warn before you strike.
    However, if a man was being stalked, this could be ignored.
  • Never shoot a woman no matter what.
  • Consideration for others is central to the code, such
    as: Don't stir up dust around the chuckwagon, don't wake up the wrong man
    for herd duty, etc.
  • Respect the land and the environment by not smoking in
    hazardous fire areas, disfiguring rocks, trees, or other natural areas.
  • Honesty is absolute - your word is your bond, a
    handshake is more binding than a contract.

  • Live by the Golden Rule.

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