SIX COWBOYS IN OAKLEY, IDAHO (EARLY FEMALE PHOTOGRAPHER)

Six cowboys pose for their photograph at the studio of Mrs. R. I. Mills, in Oakley, Idaho. The men are dressed up for the occasion of their portrait. These guys are very interesting characters. The men on the ends of the back row are each smoking. The cigar of the cowboy on the right has a long section of ashes on his cigar. The man in the middle of the back row is wearing spectacles. Note the boots and the bandanas on the two men in the front row. Also note the pants of one of the cowboys sitting in the front row. The pants appear to have studs or snaps on them. Are these special pants for riding or for roping cattle? Perhaps a visitor to the cabinet card gallery site can offer additional information. Some of the men are identified on the reverse of the card. The men in this photograph are friends of James D. Glenn. Pictured on the card are James Glenn, Frank Taylor, Mr. Johnson, and three unidentified men.

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Published in: on September 13, 2010 at 9:08 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Oh Wow!

    What a shot. I’m doing a book on the time period, concentrating on the look of the wild west. I have NEVER seen those pants!

    Just amazing!

    SJR
    The Pink Flamingo

  2. Those are not pants, they are chaps. Chaps are made of leather and are worn over pants and protect the cowboy’s legs from brush and thorns while riding. The studs on the chaps are called conchos. They are silver disks, often with stamping or engraving on them, and are decoration. What is really interesting about this photograph is the spur straps on the boots. You will notice the buckle and ends of the straps wind up on the inside of the foot (between the feet). Spurs are worn with the buckle and excess strap to the outside of the foot so they do not trip the cowboy while walking. Also notice that the bandanas (also called wild rags) are worn over neckties. No cowboy wore a wild rag over a tie. I’d say these guys are dressing the part for the photo and are not ‘real’ cowboys.
    Rod
    Oakley, Idaho

  3. Thanks for your informative comment. Your assessment that the cowboys may be playing dress up was interesting. The fact that photography studios used props in their images, sometimes makes it difficult to confidently make assumptions about the subjects based on outfits or items in the photographs. What was Oakley, Idaho like in the 1890′s? Was it a town that had a lot of ranches and cattle?


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