Top 20 most famous cowboys of all time
Top 20 most famous cowboys of all time

Who are the top cowboys in the world?

This includes the most prominent cowboys, living and dead, both in America's wild west and abroad. This list of notable cowboys is ordered by their level of prominence, and can be sorted for various bits of information, such as where these historic cowboys were born and what their nationality is.

The people on this list are from different countries, but what they all have in common is that they're all renowned cowboys. Keep reading the article below to know who they are.

The List of top 20 most famous cowboys of all time

20. Montie Montana (1910-1998)

19. Ab Saunders (1851-1883)

18. Baxter Black (1945- )

17. George Scarborough (1859-1900)

16. Ben Johnson (1918-1996)

15. Walt Garrison (1944- )

14. Ty O’Neal McClary (1978- )

13. Emmett Dalton (1871-1937)

12. Bill Pickett (1870-1932)

11. Chuck Roberson (1919-1988)

10. Tom Ketchum (1863-1901)

9. Doc Scurlock (1849-1929)

8. Hank Worden (1901-1992)

7. Cliven Bundy (1946- )

6. Ty Murray (1969- )

5. John Wesley Hardin

4. Don Bendell

3. Clay Carr

2. Will Rogers (1879-1935)

1. Billy the Kid (1859-1881)

Who are the most famous cowboys in America of all time?

20. Montie Montana (1910-1998)

Photo: Alchetron
Photo: Alchetron

Montie Montana (born Owen Harlen Mickel; June 21, 1910 – May 20, 1998) was a rodeo trick rider and trick roper, actor, stuntman and cowboy inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1994.

Montana was born in Wolf Point, Montana, in 1910. He was a perennial participant in the Tournament of Roses Parade until his death in Los Angeles, California, in 1998. Television viewers know him from more than 60 appearances, waving to the crowd from his silver saddle. He can be seen as a contestant on the May 7, 1959 television broadcast of You Bet Your Life, along with his horse Rex.

Montana would go to elementary schools and perform with Rex. He was at Camellia Avenue Elementary School in North Hollywood, California, in 1959, and he would talk about the rubber horseshoes Rex would be fitted with so Rex would not slip on the asphalt playground while Montie was riding Rex. He performed rope tricks on and off of Rex, and would pass out photos of him and Rex to the students at the end of his show.

In 1996, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to him. He was buried at the Oakwood Memorial Park in Chatsworth, California.

19. Ab Saunders (1851-1883)

Photo: Heritage Auctions
Photo: Heritage Auctions

Ab Saunders (October 14, 1851 – February 5, 1883) was an American cowboy, and at times gunman, best known for his association with Billy the Kid, Charlie Bowdre, Frank McNab, Doc Scurlock, and Saunders's cousins Frank and George Coe, when he was a member of the Lincoln County Regulators, a deputized posse, during the 1878 Lincoln County War in the New Mexico Territory (New Mexico did not become a U.S. state until 1912.)

Born James Albert Saunders in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, Saunders was called Ab for short by those who knew him. Saunders joined the Coes around 1875, after first settling in Colfax County, New Mexico. They all intended to settle and build a ranch together. At the time, the corrupt Santa Fe Ring was in full swing, and in Lincoln, New Mexico, businessman and former soldier Lawrence Murphy and his partner had a monopoly on business, charging extremely high prices to ranchers and farmers for their goods.

Saunders began working with his cousins on their ranch, and took part in defending the herds against cattle rustling. In the spring of 1876, Saunders and his cousins met and became friends with Bowdre, Richard "Dick" Brewer and Scurlock. In March 1876, Billy the Kid, known at the time as either Henry Antrim or William H. Bonney, began working at a cheese factory owned by Bowdre and Scurlock and through them, he met the Coe brothers and Saunders.

In July 1876, Frank Coe and Saunders tracked down cattle rustler Nicas Meras, shooting and killing him in the Baca Canyon. On July 18, 1876, Bowdre, the Coe brothers, Saunders and Scurlock broke into the Lincoln jail, freeing horse thief Jesus Largo from Sheriff Saturnino Baca. They then took Largo outside of town and hanged him. When Bonney (Billy the Kid) was fired by rancher Henry Hooker, he began working as a cowboy for the Coes and Saunders .

Through ranching, Saunders and his cousins became associated with large rancher John Tunstall, who in 1877 with the backing of the powerful John Chisum opened a rival business to the Murphy businesses, with partner Alexander McSween. This enraged Murphy and partner James Dolan, who hired members of both the Jesse Evans Gang and the John Kinney Gang, in addition to the Seven Rivers Warriors to goad Tunstall into a fight. Tunstall, in turn, hired gunmen of his own, to include Bonney, Bowdre, Brewer, the Coe brothers, Saunders, and Scurlock. On February 18, 1878, Tunstall was murdered by Jesse Evans and members of his gang, sparking the Lincoln County War.

Saunders moved with the Coe brothers to Colorado, then moved to San Francisco, California, to seek correction of ongoing problems that he continued to suffer because of the severe wound that he had received when McNab was killed. Saunders, however, died on February 5, 1883, at the age of thirty-one, while undergoing surgery.

The actor Michael Dante played the part of Saunders in the 1958 episode "The Deserters" of the ABC/Warner Brothers western television series Colt .45, starring Wayde Preston. Angie Dickinson as Laura Meadows and Myron Healey as an unnamed fur trader also appear in the guest cast.

18. Baxter Black (1945- )

Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

Baxter Black (born January 10, 1945, Brooklyn Naval Hospital, Brooklyn, New York) is an American cowboy poet and former large animal veterinarian.

Black grew up in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where he would attend New Mexico State University. He completed veterinary school at Colorado State University, graduating in 1969. His writing and speaking work began in the early 1980s. Since leaving his veterinary career, he has published nearly three dozen books of poetry, fiction--both novels and children's literature--and commentary, selling over 2 million books, CDs, and DVDs.

During 2002-2009, he was a regular commentator for National Public Radio's Morning Edition. Baxter Black on Monday, the weekly syndicated radio program, has been on the air since 1989 and his weekly syndicated column, On the Edge of Common Sense, is carried by more than 150 publications.

He currently resides in Benson, Arizona, where he owns Coyote Cowboy Company, the publishing company which releases his works.

Black was born at the Brooklyn Naval Hospital in Brooklyn New York in January 1945. In high school, he became the Future Farmers of America (FFA) president, the senior class president, and lettered in wrestling one year. Beginning in high school, he began riding bulls in rodeos and continued riding throughout college. Black attended college at New Mexico State University and Colorado State University, and graduated in 1969. Before becoming a poet, he practiced medicine as a veterinarian. This career lasted from 1969 to 1982, He specialized in large animals, such as cows and horses. Baxter worked for three different large companies, and two of the three changed ownership. During his last veterinarian job, Black gained popularity through public speaking. He continued his job as a veterinarian for two years, and during that time he spoke at over 250 programs. After this, his career as a poet was beginning. Black also hosted the public television series Baxter Black and Friends.

He continues to write a column, speak on the radio, and has a short segment on RFD-TV as well as The Cowboy Channel. He resides in Benson, Arizona, with his wife, Cindy Lou, and has no cell phone, television, or fax machine. One of his philosophies of life claims: "In spite of all the computerized, digitalized, high-tech innovations of today, there will always be a need for a cowboy." When asked what made him decide to become a cowboy, he says, "Ya either are one, or ya aren't!".

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17. George Scarborough (1859-1900)

Photo: Alchetron
Photo: Alchetron

George Scarborough (October 2, 1859 – April 5, 1900) was a cowboy and lawman who lived during the time of the Wild West. He is best known for having killed outlaw John Selman, killer of John Wesley Hardin, and for his partnership with lawman Jeff Milton, with the pair bringing down several outlaws during their time together.

Scarborough was born in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. His family moved to Texas, where for a while he worked as a cowboy. In 1885, he was appointed sheriff for Jones County. He would later work as a Deputy US Marshal in and around El Paso, Texas. On June 21, 1895, while working alongside El Paso police chief Jeff Milton, Scarborough shot and killed Martin M'Rose, a Texas rustler. M'Rose is buried near John Wesley Hardin, and Texas Ranger Ernest St. Leon. Jeff Milton was Chief of Police in El Paso at that time, and Scarborough was a US Marshal. M'Rose had been captured, and was killed while being brought back from Mexico by the two lawmen on an outstanding warrant. Outlaw, gunman and paramour of Mrs. M'Rose, John Wesley Hardin, claimed that he had paid Scarborough and Milton to kill Martin M'Rose. Milton and Scarborough were arrested, but Hardin later withdrew his comments and the men were released.

In July, 1898, Scarborough and Milton tracked, shot and captured outlaw "Bronco Bill" Walters, killing another member of Walters' gang, and scattering the rest from their hideout near Solomonville, Arizona. In late 1899 and into 1900, Scarborough pursued the Burt Alvord gang. The beginning of the gang's end came during a February 15, 1900, gunfight between five of the gang members and Jeff Milton in Fairbank, Arizona, during which gang member "Three Fingered Jack" Dunlop was killed, and both gang member Bravo Juan Yaos as well as Milton were wounded.

On April 1, 1900, Scarborough was involved in a shootout with George Stevenson and James Brooks. He killed one of the men but was shot in the leg and was taken back to Deming where the leg was amputated. He died four days later – coincidentally six years to the day after the death of his friend Texas Ranger Bass Outlaw, and four years after he shot Outlaw's killer, John Selman.

16. Ben Johnson (1918-1996)

Photo: Western Horseman
Photo: Western Horseman

Benjamin "Son" Johnson, Jr. (June 13, 1918 – April 8, 1996) was an American film and television actor, stuntman, and world-champion rodeo cowboy. Tall and laconic, Johnson brought authenticity to many roles in Westerns with his expert horsemanship.

The son of a rancher, Johnson arrived in Hollywood to deliver a consignment of horses for a film. He did stunt-double work for several years before breaking into acting with the help of John Ford. An elegiac portrayal of a former cowboy theater owner in the 1950s coming-of-age drama The Last Picture Show won Johnson the 1971 Academy Award, BAFTA Award, and Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Johnson also operated a horse-breeding ranch throughout his career. Although he said he had succeeded by sticking to what he knew, shrewd real estate investments made Johnson worth an estimated $100 million by his later years.

Johnson was drawn to the rodeos and horse breeding of his early years. In 1953, he took a break from well-paid film work to compete in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) becoming the Team Roping World Champion, although he only broke even financially that year. Johnson was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1973. According to his ProRodeo Hall of Fame entry, he said, "I've won a rodeo world championship, and I'm prouder of that than anything else I've ever done."

Johnson continued to work almost steadily until his death from a heart attack at the age of 77. On April 8, 1996, the veteran actor collapsed while visiting his then 96-year-old mother Ollie at Leisure World in Mesa, Arizona, the suburban Phoenix retirement community where they both lived. Johnson's body was later transported from Arizona to Pawhuska, Oklahoma, for burial at the Pawhuska City Cemetery.

15. Walt Garrison (1944- )

Photo: AP Photo
Photo: AP Photo

Walt Garrison was two types of cowboy, a fullback with the Dallas Cowboys and a ProRodeo competitor. Garrison grew up in Lewisville, Texas, where he spent his youth riding horses and steers. He competed in high school rodeo in bareback riding, bull riding, calf roping and steer wrestling.

Garrison took a scholarship to Oklahoma State University where he was a two-time All-Big Eight honoree. After completing his eligibility for football, he spent a year with the Oklahoma State rodeo team. Garrison was drafted in the fifth round by the Dallas Cowboys in 1966.

Garrison made sure that his Cowboys’ signing bonus included a two-horse trailer so he could still attend rodeos. Coach Tom Landry stopped Garrison from competing in nearby rodeos the night before a game by allowing him to follow the rodeo trail in the offseason. The highlight of Garrison’s rodeo career was placing fifth in the steer wrestling average at the 1974 Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days.

After a torn knee ligament that ended his nine-year football career, the Texas cowboy became instrumental in the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco sponsorship in ProRodeo and in the programs they supported – the livestock naming program, sponsorships for individual cowboys, and scholarships for college rodeo athletes.

14. Ty O’Neal McClary (1978- )

Photo: Wyllie Bulldogs Education Foundation
Photo: Wyllie Bulldogs Education Foundation

Ty O'Neal McClary (born August 2, 1978) is an American actor. He is best known for playing the ice-skating cowboy Dwayne Robertson in D2: The Mighty Ducks and D3: The Mighty Ducks. McClary became close with Kenan Thompson while working on the films. The two lived together for a while during filming. In 2001 he portrayed real-life outlaw Clell Miller in American Outlaws alongside Colin Farrell, Scott Caan, and Gabriel Macht.

Today, O'Neal is a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. His events are team roping, calf roping, and steer wrestling.

He has appeared in a frequently played Holiday Inn commercial as a bull rider.

O'Neal married his wife Christie in 2005. Christie McClary is also a rodeo cowgirl who had previously modeled in woman's western wear catalogs. The couple moved to Sanger, Texas where they raise and train quarter horses. Occasionally, they travel on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo circuit, of which O'Neal is a part.

13. Emmett Dalton (1871-1937)

Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

Emmett Dalton (May 3, 1871 – July 13, 1937) was an American outlaw, train robber and member of the Dalton Gang in the American Old West. Part of a gang that attempted to rob two banks in Coffeyville, Kansas, on October 5, 1892, he was the only member of five to survive, despite receiving 23 gunshot wounds. Two of his brothers were killed. After serving 14 years in prison for the crime, Dalton was pardoned.

He moved to California, where he capitalized on his notoriety to publish books and become an actor in Hollywood. His first book, Beyond the Law (1918) was adapted as a film in which he played himself. His second book, When the Daltons Rode (1931), co-written with Jack Jungmeyer, Sr, was adapted after Dalton's death as a 1940 film of the same name.

Emmett's older brothers Bob and Grat briefly worked as US deputy marshals in Indian Territory, sharing a position held by their older brother Frank Dalton after he was killed in the line of duty. They hired Emmett to serve as a guard at the jail at Fort Smith, in present-day Arkansas. The elder two started working for the Osage Nation to help them set up a police force, but fled after being pursued for stealing horses.

They began to conduct robberies of banks, stagecoaches, and trains. Emmett joined them, along with two other men. The Dalton Gang ended on October 5, 1892 when they attempted to rob two banks the same day in Coffeyville, Kansas. They had hoped to make enough money to flee the country. Four of the gang were killed in a gun fight with law enforcement and townsmen. Emmett Dalton was severely wounded, receiving 23 gunshot wounds, but survived. Tried and convicted, he was sentenced to life in the penitentiary in Lansing, Kansas. After fourteen years, he was pardoned by the state governor.

Dalton moved to Southern California that year, in 1907. He married Julia Johnson the following year, who survived him. During his California years, he wrote two books and did some acting in Hollywood. Later he sold real estate, as Southern California was developing rapidly with migrants from across the country. He died in 1937 at the age of sixty-six.

In 1918, Dalton portrayed himself in the movie version of his first book, Beyond the Law. In 1931, he published When the Daltons Rode, co-written with Jack Jungmeyer, Sr., a Los Angeles journalist. It was adapted as a 1940 movie of the same name. It starred Randolph Scott, Kay Francis and Brian Donlevy. Emmett Dalton was portrayed by Frank Albertson.

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12. Bill Pickett (1870-1932)

Photo: WFAA
Photo: WFAA

Willie M. "Bill" Pickett (December 5, 1870 – April 2, 1932) was a cowboy, rodeo, Wild West show performer and actor. In 1989, Pickett was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.

Pickett was born in the Jenks Branch community of Williamson County, Texas in 1870. (Jenks Branch, also known as the Miller Community, is in western Williamson County, five miles southeast of Liberty Hill, and near the Travis County line.) He was the second of 13 children born to Thomas Jefferson Pickett, a former slave, and Mary "Janie" Gilbert. Pickett had four brothers and eight sisters. The family's ancestry was African-American and Cherokee. By 1888, the family had moved to Taylor, Texas.

In 1890, Pickett married Maggie Turner, a former slave and daughter of a white southern plantation owner. The couple had nine children.

He invented the technique of bulldogging, the skill of grabbing cattle by the horns and wrestling them to the ground. It was known among cattlemen that, with the help of a trained bulldog, a stray steer could be caught. Bill Pickett had seen this happen on many occasions. He also thought that if a bulldog could do this feat, so could he. Pickett practiced his stunt by riding hard, springing from his horse, and wrestling the steer to the ground. Pickett's method for bulldogging was biting a cow on the lip and then falling backwards. He also helped cowboys with bulldogging. This method eventually lost popularity as the sport morphed into the steer wrestling that is practiced in rodeos.

Pickett soon became known for his tricks and stunts at local country fairs. With his four brothers, he established The Pickett Brothers Bronco Busters and Rough Riders Association. The name Bill Pickett soon became synonymous with successful rodeos. He did his bulldogging act, traveling about in Texas, Arizona, Wyoming, and Oklahoma.

In 1932, after having retired from Wild West shows, Bill Pickett was kicked in the head by a bronco and died on April 2, 1932, and was buried on the 101 Ranch after a multi-day coma. He is buried near a 15-foot stone monument to the friendship of Ponca Tribal Chief White Eagle and the Miller Brothers on Monument Hill, also known as the White Eagle Monument to the locals, less than a quarter of a mile to the northeast of Marland, Oklahoma.

11. Chuck Roberson (1919-1988)

Photo: Amazon
Photo: Amazon

Charles Hugh "Chuck" Roberson (May 10, 1919 – June 8, 1988) was an American actor and stuntman. He was nicknamed "Bad Chuck" by director John Ford, for whom he worked many times, to distinguish him from "Good Chuck," stuntman Chuck Hayward. Roberson was reportedly the rowdier of the two, thus the nicknames.

Roberson was born near Shannon, Texas, the son of farmer Ollie W. Roberson and Jannie Hamm Roberson. Raised on cattle ranches in Shannon, Texas, and Roswell, New Mexico, he left school at 13 to become a cowhand and oilfield roughneck. He married and took his wife and daughter to California, where he joined the Culver City Police Department and guarded the gate at MGM studios. Following army service in World War II, he returned to the police force. During duty at Warner Bros. studios during a labor strike, he met stuntman Guy Teague, who alerted him to a stunt job at Republic Pictures. Teague had been John Wayne's stunt double for many years and was able to show him the ropes. Chuck also resembled John Carrol whom Roberson doubled in his first picture, Wyoming (1947). He played small roles and stunted in other roles in the same film. He graduated to larger supporting roles in westerns for Wayne and John Ford, and to a parallel career as a second-unit director.

His television appearances include The Lone Ranger, The Adventures of Kit Carson, Lawman, Death Valley Days, Have Gun – Will Travel, Laramie, Gunsmoke, The Virginian, Laredo, Bonanza, Daniel Boone, and The Big Valley. Roberson also appeared in Disney's television Westerns The Swamp Fox and Texas John Slaughter. They were part of The Wonderful World of Color. Prior to that, he portrayed a Confederate Prison Captain in The Great Locomotive Chase.

10. Tom Ketchum (1863-1901)

Photo: True West Magazine
Photo: True West Magazine

Thomas Edward Ketchum (known as Black Jack; October 31, 1863 – April 26, 1901) was an American cowboy who later became an outlaw. He was executed in 1901 for attempted train robbery.

Tom Ketchum was born in San Saba County, Texas. He left Texas in 1890, possibly after committing a crime. He worked as a cowboy in the Pecos River Valley of New Mexico, where by 1894, his older brother, Sam Ketchum, had joined him.[1] Black Jack and a group of others were named as the robbers of an Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway train that was en route to Deming, New Mexico Territory, in 1892 with a large payroll aboard. The gang supposedly robbed the train just outside Nutt, New Mexico Territory, a water station twenty miles north of Deming. Black Jack and his gang would often visit the ranch of Herb Bassett, near Brown's Park, Colorado, who was known to have done business with several outlaws of the day, having supplied them with beef and fresh horses. Herb Bassett was the father of female outlaws Josie Bassett and Ann Bassett, who were girlfriends to several members of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch gang. One of Ann Bassett's boyfriends and future Wild Bunch gang member, Ben Kilpatrick, began riding with Black Jack's gang about that time. Outlaw "Bronco Bill" Walters, later noted for the legend of his "hidden loot" near Solomonville, Arizona, is also believed to have begun riding with the gang at this time.

By late 1895, outlaw Harvey "Kid Curry" Logan and his brother Lonnie Curry were members of Black Jack's gang. However, in early 1896, a dispute concerning their share of robbery loot prompted the Currys to leave the gang.

Tom Ketchum was once identified mistakenly as "Black Jack" Christian, another outlaw, and that became his nickname as well. Three of the train robberies that the gang committed were near the same location, between Folsom and Des Moines, New Mexico Territory. This was at the point where the old Fort Union wagon road crossed the Colorado and Southern Rail Road tracks near Twin Mountain.

On August 16, 1899, Tom Ketchum, supposedly knowing nothing of the July 11 hold-up which ended in the death of his brother Sam, single-handedly attempted to rob the same train again at the same place and in the same way that he and Sam and others had robbed it just a few weeks earlier. The train conductor, Frank Harrington, saw Tom approaching the moving train. He recognized him, grabbed a shotgun, and shot Tom in the arm, knocking him off his horse. The train continued, and the next day a posse came out and found Tom beside the tracks, badly wounded. He was transported to medical facilities at Trinidad, Colorado, and his right arm had to be amputated. He was nursed back to health and then sent to Clayton, New Mexico Territory, for trial.

At the trial, Ketchum was convicted and sentenced to death. He was the only person ever hanged in Union County, New Mexico Territory (now Union County, New Mexico). He was also the only person who suffered capital punishment for the offense of "felonious assault upon a railway train" in New Mexico Territory (which did not become a state until 1912). Later, the law was found to be unconstitutional.

His last words were reported by the San Francisco Chronicle as: "Good-bye. Please dig my grave very deep. All right; hurry up."

A popular postcard was made showing the body. Afterwards his head was sewn back onto the body for viewing, and he was interred at the Clayton Cemetery.

9. Doc Scurlock (1849-1929)

Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

Josiah Gordon "Doc" Scurlock (January 11, 1849 – July 25, 1929) was an American Old West figure, cowboy, and gunfighter. A founding member of the Regulators during the Lincoln County War in New Mexico, Scurlock rode alongside such men as Billy the Kid.

He was born in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, January 11, 1849, the sixth of 11 children born to Priestly Norman Scurlock (July 3, 1806 – June 22, 1876) and Esther Ann Brown (May 19, 1819 – June 1, 1903). Josiah was said to have studied medicine in New Orleans, thus receiving his nickname "Doc".

Described as 5 feet 8 inches (1.73 m) tall, weighing 150 pounds (68 kg), with brown eyes and dark blond hair, Doc went to Mexico in about 1870. While there, he and another man had an argument over a card game and drew their pistols. The other man shot first and the bullet went through Doc's mouth, knocking out his front teeth and coming out the back of his neck without any more serious damage. He quickly returned fire and killed the man who shot him.

In January 1877, Scurlock and a neighbor, George Coe, were arrested by Sheriff William J. Brady for suspicion of harboring a murdering fugitive and member of the Jesse Evans Gang named Frank Freeman. For the next few days, Scurlock and Coe received very harsh treatment from Brady. They were allegedly tortured, but were eventually released. In October 1877, the Evans Gang stole horses belonging to John Tunstall, Alexander McSween, and Richard "Dick" Brewer from Brewer's Rio Ruidoso ranch. Scurlock and Bowdre, as well as Brewer, went off in pursuit of the Evans Gang and located them, but were unable to regain possession of the stolen horses.

Scurlock served as a deputy sheriff under Sheriff John Copeland, who was a McSween partisan and replaced Sheriff Brady. On May 14, 1878, he led a posse of 18 to 20 men, which included Billy the Kid, Bowdre, George Coe, Brown, and Scroggins, to the Dolan-Riley cattle ranch, ostensibly in search of those implicated in the killing of MacNab and the wounding of Saunders. According to Riley, they drove off 26 horses and two mules, killed a herder named Wair; a Navajo Indian employed at the ranch as a cook; and a 15-year-old boy called Johnny. However, W.T. Thornton, Thomas B. Catron's law partner, reported that the latter two were only wounded. Writer Robert M. Utley says that they captured a man named "Indian" Manuel Segovia, the likely shooter of McNab, but he was shot while allegedly trying to escape.

In about October or November 1879, Scurlock moved to Texas, where he settled down and became a highly respected citizen. On the 1880 census in Potter County, Texas, he was keeping the mail station.

Doc Scurlock died at age 80 from a heart attack in Eastland, Texas. He is interred in Eastland City Cemetery, along with his wife and other family members.

8. Hank Worden (1901-1992)

Photo: www.hankworden.com
Photo: www.hankworden.com

Hank Worden (born Norton Earl Worden, July 23, 1901 – December 6, 1992) was an American cowboy-turned-character actor who appeared in many Westerns, including many John Ford films such as The Searchers and the TV series The Lone Ranger.

Born in Rolfe, Iowa,[1] Worden was raised on a cattle ranch near Glendive, Montana and was educated at Stanford University and the University of Nevada as an engineer. He enlisted in the U.S. Army hoping to become an Army pilot, but failed to pass flight school. An expert horseman, he toured the country in rodeos as a saddle bronc rider. During one ride, his horse landed atop him and fractured his neck, but aside from a temporary soreness, Worden did not know of the nature of the damage until x-rayed 20 years later.[citation needed] While appearing in a rodeo at Madison Square Garden in New York, he and fellow cowboy Tex Ritter were chosen to appear in the Broadway play Green Grow the Lilacs (1931). Following the run of the play, Worden drove a cab in New York, and then worked on dude ranches as a wrangler and as a guide on the Bright Angel trail of the Grand Canyon.

A chance encounter with actress Billie Burke at a dude ranch led her to recommend him to several film producers. Worden made his film debut as an extra in Cecil B. DeMille's The Plainsman (though a few later films were released prior to The Plainsman). By this time, Tex Ritter had become a star, and Worden played sidekick roles in a number of Ritter's Westerns. In several of his early appearances, Worden was billed as "Heber Snow", until he reverted to his real name. A small part in Howard Hawks's Come and Get It led to a number of later appearances for that director, who also recommended him to director John Ford. He appeared in six episodes of the TV series The Lone Ranger.

In 1992, Worden hosted and co-produced, with director Clyde Lucas, an independent special shown on the Nostalgia Channel and some PBS stations entitled Thank Ya, Thank Ya Kindly. The special looked back on Worden's career and featured guests Clint Eastwood, Paul Hogan, Harry Carey Jr., Ben Johnson, Frankie Avalon, Burt Kennedy and stuntman Dean Smith.

Widowed by his wife of 37 years (the former Emma Louise Eaton) in 1977, he later shared his house for several years with actor Jim Beaver. In good health through his 91st year, he died peacefully during a nap at his home in Los Angeles on December 6, 1992. He was survived by his daughter, Dawn Henry, whom he and his wife had adopted as an adult.

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7. Cliven Bundy (1946- )

Photo: Las Vegas Review
Photo: Las Vegas Review

Cliven D. Bundy (born April 29, 1946) is an American cattle rancher who was charged and underwent pre-trial detention for his role in the 2014 Bundy standoff.[2] Bundy vocally advocated a philosophy opposed to what he views as federal government overreach. He is the father of Ammon Bundy, who in 2016 also led another armed standoff against the government, the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.

Bundy initiated the 2014 Bundy standoff in Nevada, an armed standoff with federal and state law enforcement over defaulted grazing fees. On February 10, 2016, Cliven Bundy was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at the Portland International Airport while he was on his way to support the Malheur Standoff. He was placed in federal custody, facing federal charges related to his own standoff with the Bureau of Land Management in 2014. On December 20, 2017, Judge Gloria Navarro declared a mistrial and dismissed the charges because the federal government had withheld potentially exculpatory evidence.

Bundy has participated in, and had links with various related movements, including anti-government activism, (which opposes federal government involvement in favor of state and local governments) and the sovereign citizen movement (which holds that people are answerable only to their particular interpretation of the common law and are not subject to any government statutes or proceedings). Some view him as a hero for having led a movement of ranchers to encourage more ranchers to join him in defaulting on their grazing fees as per their federal grazing contracts. Bundy's views have also generated significant controversy and criticism; for instance, he came under fire for remarks suggesting that African Americans might have been better off under slavery than living under government subsidy.

6. Ty Murray (1969- )

Photo: People
Photo: People

Ty Monroe Murray (born October 11, 1969) is an American nine-time World Champion professional rodeo cowboy. He was one of the top rodeo contestants in the world from the late 1980s to early 2000s. He is an inductee of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in the all-around category. He is also one of the co-founders and a board adviser of the Professional Bull Riders (PBR), as well as a color commentator on events for the PBR's elite tour, the Unleash the Beast Series (UTB).

Ty Murray was born on October 11, 1969, in Phoenix, Arizona, to Harold "Butch" and Joy Murray. He has two sisters, Kim and Kerri, both also involved in rodeo during their childhoods. His father competed in rodeos, broke colts for 30 years, and was the starter for The Downs in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His mother competed as a child in the National Little Britches Rodeo Association. She took first place in their bull riding competition. However, it was not long before the family moved to a ranch in Glendale, Arizona that was around 10 miles from Phoenix.

In 1987, he won the Arizona National High School Rodeo Association all-around championship. He tied with Dennis Schmidt for the bareback riding championship. This helped Arizona win the team national title, which it had not won in 12 years. He competed in every roughstock event and cutting. He also won the National High School Rodeo Association all-around championship.

In 1989, he competed on the PRCA circuit again. This time, he qualified for the NFR in the bareback riding and the saddle bronc riding. He and his uncle Butch Myers were the only two cowboys that year who qualified in more than one event. Nephew and uncle had a friendly competition for the all-around that year. Myers had a $2,786 lead over Murray heading into the finals. Murray placed on 7 of his 20 horses, winning $58,031 in his first NFR. He bypassed Myers by $21,202. Murray became the youngest all-around champion that year. Previously, Jim Shoulders had held that position for winning at age 21 in 1949.

In January in Bossier City, Louisiana, Murray made a qualified ride on Fresh Country for 86.50 points while the bull earned 44.75 points. Also in January, Murray made a qualified ride on Smokin’ Smurf in Greensboro, North Carolina for 90.50 points. The bull earned 44.50 points. Again in January, in Greensboro, Murray earned a qualified ride on Perfect Storm for 95 points; the bull earned 47 points. He had earlier bucked off the bull in August 2001 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In February in Guthrie, Oklahoma, he made a qualified ride on Starbucks for 89 points; the bull earned 44.00 points. Also in February in Guthrie, he made a qualified ride on 6 Lefty for 89.50 points; the bull scored 44.00 points. In March in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Murray had a shot at future Brand of Honor bull Mossy Oak Mudslinger. The bull bucked him off and earned 47 points.

5. John Wesley Hardin

Photo: Gayne C. Young
Photo: Gayne C. Young

John Wesley Hardin (May 26, 1853 – August 19, 1895) was an American Old West outlaw, gunfighter, and controversial folk icon. Hardin often got into trouble with the law from an early age. He killed his first man at the age of 15, claiming he did so in self-defense.

Pursued by lawmen for most of his life, in 1877 at the age of 23, he was sentenced to 24 years in prison for murder. At the time of sentencing, Hardin claimed to have killed 42 men, while contemporary newspaper accounts attributed 27 deaths to him. While in prison, Hardin studied law and wrote an autobiography. He was well known for exaggerating or fabricating stories about his life and claimed credit for many killings that cannot be corroborated.

Within a year of his 1894 release from prison, Hardin was killed by John Selman in an El Paso saloon.

Hardin was born in 1853 near Bonham, Texas to James "Gip" Hardin, a Methodist preacher and circuit rider, and Mary Elizabeth Dixson. He was named after John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist denomination of the Christian church. In his autobiography, Hardin described his mother as "blond, highly cultured ... [while] charity predominated in her disposition." Hardin's father traveled over much of central Texas on his preaching circuit until he settled his family in Sumpter, Trinity County, Texas, in 1859. There, Hardin's father established and taught at the school that John Hardin and his siblings attended. Hardin was the second surviving son of ten children.

First killing

In November 1868, when he was 15, Hardin challenged his uncle Holshousen's former slave, Major "Maje" Holshousen, to a wrestling match, which Hardin won. According to Hardin, the following day, Maje "ambushed" him as he rode past shouting at him and waving a stick. Hardin drew his revolver and shot Maje five times. Hardin wrote in his autobiography that he rode to get help for the wounded man, but Maje died three days later. Hardin further wrote that his father did not believe he would receive a fair hearing in the Union-occupied state (where more than a third of the state police were former slaves), so he ordered him into hiding. Hardin claimed that the authorities eventually discovered his location, and three Union soldiers were sent to arrest him, at which time he "chose to confront his pursuers" despite having been warned of their approach by an older brother, Joseph:

“... I waylaid them, as I had no mercy on men whom I knew only wanted to get my body to torture and kill. It was war to the knife for me, and I brought it on by opening the fight with a double-barreled shotgun and ended it with a cap and ball six-shooter. Thus it was by the fall of 1868 I had killed four men and was myself wounded in the arm.”

4. Don Bendell

Photo: Audible
Photo: Audible

Don Bendell (born January 8, 1947) is an American author, rancher, tracker, producer, director, actor, and a former Green Beret. He has published 29 books and assisted in exposing former Atlantic City Mayor Bob Levy's claims of serving as a Green Beret as false.

Bendell was born in Akron, Ohio, and has had his work published in several newspapers and magazines, such as The American Spectator. Bendell is skilled in multiple martial arts, previously owned his own karate schools, and is a 1995 inductee into the International Karate & Kickboxing Hall of Fame.

In November 2016, Bendell spoke at a rally in support of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

In 2018, Bendell ran as a Republican for the Colorado House of Representatives and was narrowly defeated by his Democratic opponent, Brianna Buentello.

3. Clay Carr (1909-1957)

Photo: ProRodeoHalloFame via Twitter
Photo: ProRodeoHalloFame via Twitter

Clay Carr (April 17, 1909 – April 1957) was an American rodeo cowboy who competed in the 1930s and 1940s. He was a two-time All-Around Cowboy champion in the Rodeo Association of America (RAA), and won three season discipline titles: two in steer roping and one in saddle bronc riding. In 1930, he won the All-Around Cowboy title and two season discipline championships to become the first Triple Crown winner in rodeo history. Carr's championships are recognized by the modern Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA).

Carr was born in Farmersville, California. Having been raised on a cattle ranch, at the age of four he learned how to ride horses, and he gained further rodeo-related skills in his youth. Once, he was bitten on the leg by a rattlesnake while riding a horse, and required a week of medical treatment to recover.

During his career, he lived in Visalia. In 1930, Carr claimed the RAA All-Around Cowboy championship, and was the winner of two season discipline championships, in the saddle bronc and steer roping categories. The three championships in one season gave Carr a Triple Crown, the first ever achieved in rodeo. As of 2015, he is one of 10 cowboys to accomplish the feat. Carr's second All-Around Cowboy title came in 1933; two years later, he was gored by a bull at a rodeo in Visalia, suffering a perforation of his abdomen. Carr finished second in the 1936 Chicago rodeo's combined bronc riding and calf roping standings, behind Lonnie Rooney. In 1940, he added a second steer roping championship. Carr was also a three-time champion of the California Rodeo, and appeared as a film actor in Westerns.

Sports Illustrated's Susan Davis called Carr "the Babe Ruth of rodeo riders". Author Clifford P. Westermeier described him as "one of the great cowboys of the age", and said of his personality that he was "a strange man, difficult to meet and extremely hard to get acquainted with." Regardless, Carr was a respected figure in the rodeo world; Westermeier wrote that he was "regarded as a very tough customer in a business deal, fight, or a poker game.” Carr was considered strongest in rodeos held in the western U.S., and rarely competed on the East Coast, although he did participate in some rodeos overseas. The Rodeo Hall of Fame of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum inducted Carr in 1955. He was also inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1979, and the California Rodeo Salinas Hall of Fame in 2016.

2. Will Rogers (1879-1935)

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

William Penn Adair Rogers (November 4, 1879 – August 15, 1935) was an American stage and film actor, vaudeville performer, cowboy, humorist, newspaper columnist, and social commentator from Oklahoma. He was a Cherokee citizen born in the Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory.

Known as "Oklahoma's Favorite Son", Rogers was born to a Cherokee family in Indian Territory (now part of Oklahoma). As an entertainer and humorist, he traveled around the world three times, made 71 films (50 silent films and 21 "talkies"), and wrote more than 4,000 nationally syndicated newspaper columns.

By the mid-1930s, Rogers was hugely popular in the United States for his leading political wit and was the highest paid of Hollywood film stars. He died in 1935 with aviator Wiley Post when their small airplane crashed in northern Alaska.

Rogers's vaudeville rope act led to success in the Ziegfeld Follies, which in turn led to the first of his many movie contracts. His 1920s syndicated newspaper column and his radio appearances increased his visibility and popularity. Rogers crusaded for aviation expansion and provided Americans with first-hand accounts of his world travels. His earthy anecdotes and folksy style allowed him to poke fun at gangsters, prohibition, politicians, government programs, and a host of other controversial topics in a way that found general acclaim from a national audience with no one offended. His aphorisms, couched in humorous terms, were widely quoted: "I am not a member of an organized political party. I am a Democrat."

Will Rogers in the film Down to Earth, from The Film Daily, 1932

One of Rogers's most famous sayings was "I never met a man I didn't like" and he even provided an epigram on this famous epigram:

“When I die, my epitaph, or whatever you call those signs on gravestones, is going to read: "I joked about every prominent man of my time, but I never met a man I dident [sic] like." I am so proud of that, I can hardly wait to die so it can be carved.”

1. Billy the Kid (1859-1881)

Photo: True West Magazine
Photo: True West Magazine

Billy the Kid (born Henry McCarty; September 17 or November 23, 1859 – July 14, 1881), also known by the pseudonym William H. Bonney, was an outlaw and gunfighter of the American Old West, who killed eight men before he was shot and killed at the age of 21. He also fought in New Mexico's Lincoln County War, during which he allegedly committed three murders.

McCarty was orphaned at the age of 15. His first arrest was for stealing food, at the age of 16, in late 1875. Ten days later, he robbed a Chinese laundry and was again arrested, but escaped shortly afterwards. He fled from New Mexico Territory into neighboring Arizona Territory, making himself both an outlaw and a federal fugitive. In 1877, McCarty began to call himself "William H. Bonney". Two versions of a wanted poster dated September 23, 1875, refer to him as "Wm. Wright, better known as Billy the Kid".

After murdering a blacksmith during an altercation in August 1877, McCarty became a wanted man in Arizona and returned to New Mexico, where he joined a group of cattle rustlers. He became well known in the region when he joined the Regulators and took part in the Lincoln County War of 1878. McCarty and two other Regulators were later charged with killing three men, including Lincoln County Sheriff William J. Brady and one of his deputies.

McCarty's notoriety grew in December 1880 when the Las Vegas Gazette, in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and The Sun, in New York City, carried stories about his crimes. Sheriff Pat Garrett captured McCarty later that month. In April 1881, McCarty was tried for and convicted of Brady's murder, and was sentenced to hang in May of that year. He escaped from jail on April 28, killing two sheriff's deputies in the process and evading capture for more than two months. Garrett shot and killed McCarty, by then age 21, in Fort Sumner on July 14, 1881. During the following decades, legends grew that McCarty had survived, and a number of men claimed to be him. Billy the Kid remains one of the most notorious figures from the era, whose life and likeness have been frequently dramatized in Western popular culture.

A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the vaquero traditions of northern Mexico and became a figure of special significance and legend. A subtype, called a wrangler, specifically tends the horses used to work cattle. In addition to ranch work, some cowboys work for or participate in rodeos. Cowgirls, first defined as such in the late 19th century, had a less-well documented historical role, but in the modern world work at identical tasks and have obtained considerable respect for their achievements. Cattle handlers in many other parts of the world, particularly South America and Australia, perform work similar to the cowboy.

The cowboy has deep historic roots tracing back to Spain and the earliest European settlers of the Americas. Over the centuries, differences in terrain and climate, and the influence of cattle-handling traditions from multiple cultures, created several distinct styles of equipment, clothing and animal handling. As the ever-practical cowboy adapted to the modern world, his equipment and techniques also adapted, though many classic traditions are preserved.

The word rodeo is from the Spanish rodear (to turn), which means roundup. In the beginning there was no difference between the working cowboy and the rodeo cowboy, and in fact, the term working cowboy did not come into use until the 1950s. Prior to that it was assumed that all cowboys were working cowboys. Early cowboys both worked on ranches and displayed their skills at the roundups.

The advent of professional rodeos allowed cowboys, like many athletes, to earn a living by performing their skills before an audience. Rodeos also provided employment for many working cowboys who were needed to handle livestock. Many rodeo cowboys are also working cowboys and most have working cowboy experience.

The dress of the rodeo cowboy is not very different from that of the working cowboy on his way to town. Snaps, used in lieu of buttons on the cowboy's shirt, allowed the cowboy to escape from a shirt snagged by the horns of steer or bull. Styles were often adapted from the early movie industry for the rodeo. Some rodeo competitors, particularly women, add sequins, colors, silver and long fringes to their clothing in both a nod to tradition and showmanship. Modern riders in "rough stock" events such as saddle bronc or bull riding may add safety equipment such as kevlar vests or a neck brace, but use of safety helmets in lieu of the cowboy hat is yet to be accepted, in spite of constant risk of injury.

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