Cowboy vs Gunslinger: Difference and Comparison

Key Takeaways

  1. Cowboy: Cowboys were historically cattle herders or ranch workers in the American West. They were skilled horseback riders known for working on ranches, driving cattle, and maintaining livestock. Cowboys were associated with a rugged and independent lifestyle and were depicted in Western films and literature.
  2. Gunslinger: Gunslingers were individuals skilled in using firearms, particularly handguns. They were portrayed as outlaws or lawmen in the Wild West era. Gunslingers were known for their quick draw and marksmanship abilities, and they played a prominent role in American West mythos and legends.
  3. Difference: While some cowboys may have carried guns for self-defense, gunslingers were known for their prowess with firearms and had a reputation as fighters or law enforcement officers.

Who is a Cowboy?

Cowboy is a word used to describe an animal header on horseback and performs many other ranch-related tasks. Cowboy has deep historical roots in the earliest European settlers of America and Spain. The word Cowboy comes from Spain, beginning with the hacienda and the other medieval systems of Spain.

Over the centuries, different traditions have used the Cowboy word to describe different characters. Cowboy word was also used during the American Revolution to indicate American fighters who strongly opposed the independence movement. Whereas in 1880, the term cowboy was utilised to indicate a man who had committed various crimes. Other synonyms for the cowboy were ranchers, headers, ranch head, range hand or trail hand, etc.

Cowboy is responsible for raising livestock and branding cattle. The working Cowboy handles a small group of cattle or horses and requires to petrol the rangeland scanning for damaged fences, water problems, evidence of predation, etc.  The Cowboy attire includes Bandana, chaps, Cowboy boots, cowboy hat, gloves, and jeans. All of these clothes of Cowboy vary in different locations and different seasons. The hat brim width or Chap length is adjusted according to the environmental conditions.

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Who is Gunslinger?

 Gunslingers, also referred to as gunfighters in the 19th century, were the individuals who gained the reputation for being dangerous with a gun and participated in gunfights and shootouts. In the modern world, the term gunslinger is used to refer to someone who efficiently uses a pistol and can also be referred to as a rifleman or a shotgun messenger.

Gunfighter is one of the most popular characters in Western movies and has appeared in many films, short video games, and literature. In ancient times, a gunfighter could be a Cowboy, a shooting exhibitionist, or a lawman. However, the most common gunslinger was a man who hired a gun and made a living with weapons in Western countries.

Gunslinger’s word originates from the Western film “Drag Helen,” released in 1920. It is applied to the man who receives contracts for killing or would work at Ranch in a range war and earn fighting wages. In Western movies and novels, gunslingers have been mentioned along with cowboys. In movies, they are portrayed as a superhuman who runs very fast and has the skill to run a revolver, pistol, rifle, gun, etc.

Difference Between Cowboy and Gunslinger

  1. The origin of the cowboy goes back to 1880 in Spain and later in America. The term gunslinger was used in movies for the first time in Western countries to denote gunfighters.
  2. The cowboy’s tools include pores, knives, firearms, rope etc. Tools of gunslingers include Rifles, revolvers, guns, etc.
  3. Horses are the means of travel for the cowboy. On the other hand, Gunslingers are portrayed as hiding behind and do not have a specific means of travel.
  4. In 2005 the United States Senate declared 4 Saturdays of July as the National Day of the American Cowboy. In contrast, There is no specific symbolization for the gunslinger.
  5. A cowboy is not necessarily a gunslinger. However, many Western movies portray gunslingers in cowboy attire.
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Comparison Between Cowboy and Gunslinger

Parameter of ComparisonCowboyGunslinger
SynonymsThey work to take contracts to kill or work in wars to earn fighting wages.Gunfighters, gunmen, riflemen, shotgun messengers, etc.
WorkTheir work is to raise livestock and patrol with horsesTheir work is to take contracts to kill or work in wars to earn fighting wages.
ToolsRope, spurs, firearms, knives, etc.Pistol, rifles, revolvers, etc.
AttireA cowboy’s attire includes Bandanna, Chaps, boots, hat and gloves.They wear cowboy-like attire but do not have any specific attire.
OriginSpain and AmericaWestern origin
References
  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11133-008-9106-0
  2. https://muse.jhu.edu/pub/427/article/824268/summary

Last Updated : 14 October, 2023

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