"Something there was about him—tall in the saddle, alone, facing danger, one man against nature’s vast, treeless plains and humanity’s outlaws—that appealed to people and made the cowboy a folk hero, a half-real, half-mythological symbol of the American West."
One thing most people don't know about the Wild West and its cowboys was that most of them were people of color, blacks and Hispanics that were looking for work. Being a cowboy, however, was not an easy task. In fact, a majority of cowboys died protecting their cattle. They took their jobs extremely seriously.
The golden age of the cowboy only existed for 20 years, taking place from 1866-1886. The demand for cattle was so high in the East that skilled cowboys were sorely needed in the West.