vote on everything
Weird History
23.4k readers

What The Wild West Was Really Like, According To The People Who Were There

Updated 6 Jan 2020 23.4k views13 items

The Wild West has been known by many names - the Old Wild West, the American Frontier, and even simply the Old West. But what is the true story behind the westward expansion across the lands that made up the newly acquired western territories of the United States of America? Was it really just full of rifle-toting, whiskey-sipping, rabble-rousing cowboys doing whatever they pleased and Native American peoples defending the lands of their ancestors, or was there more to the Wild West than meets the eye? When it comes to life in the Old West, which officially spanned from the end of the American Civil War in 1865 and ended only 30 years later in 1895, the individual experiences were as varied as they were dramatic, with each day bringing with it an unpredictable array of awe-inspiring views and terrifying encounters.

These accounts of life in the Wild West era show that living in the plains of the deep western countryside was anything but easy. This was a time dominated by one nation's obsession with maintaining their self-proclaimed Manifest Destiny and other nations' determination to retain as much of the land inherited from past generations as possible. As a result, daily life in the Wild West was anything but simple and, for time immemorial, it has continued to mystify and intrigue children and scholars alike. Each of the accounts below offers only a small glimpse into what life was really like in the Wild West, according to the people who actually lived it.

PopularWeird HistoryOld WestFirsthand Accounts