N.B. A FEATURE, NOT A FLAW: open the Wild Wild West card until the it’s almost inside out .. you’ll hear a snap as the town and cowboys and horse pop up. If the town is leaning forward, you didn’t pop the card enough.
Wild West Messages:
- Don’t squat with your spurs on.
- Don’t judge people by their relatives.
- May your belly never grumble, may your heart never ache, may your horse never stumble, may your cinch never break.
- If it is a horse ride it, if it is a fence fix it, if she is a lady treat her like a queen.
- Are you gonna cowboy up or lie there and bleed?
- If you climb in the saddle, be ready for the ride.
- Shoot Low Sheriff! He’s ridin’ a Shetland!
- When they lay me down to rest, put my spurs and rope upon my chest. Get my friends to carry me and then go turn my horses free.
- Never slap a man who’s chewing tobacco.
- Get the hell out of Dodge.
- Old cowboys never die, they just smell that way.
- Cowgirls are like barbed wire . . . handle with care.
- If ya don’t know a where’s you’re a goin, it’d be a good idea not to use yer spurs.
Wild West Quotes:
- “My buddies wanted to be firemen, farmers or policemen. Not me, I just wanted to steal people’s money. ~John Dillinger
- I never killed a man I didn’t have to. ~ John Wayne
- Trust your neighbor.. But brand your cattle.
- Hang ’em first, try ’em later. ~Judge Roy Bean
- Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction.
- I rob banks because that’s where the money is. ~Willie Sutton
- “Where do you want to go?” asked the conductor.
“To Hell,” said the cowboy.
“Well, give me $2.50 and get off at Dodge.”
- “I thought John was the nicest kindest gentleman that I had ever met, why even my parents thought he was polite and well mannered.” ~Beryl Ethel Hovious said of John Dillinger during a 1889 interview.
- “Well, if there aint’ going to be any rules, let’s get the fight started.” ~Butch Cassidy
- “A pioneer is a man who turned all the grass upside down, strung bob wire over the dust that was left, poisoned the water, cut down the trees, killed the Indian who owned the land and called it progress.” ~Charles M. Russell
- “Y’all can go to hell. I am going to Texas.” ~Davy Crockett
- “The wildest, roughest, wickedest honky tonk between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast.” ~NY Times re Tombstone, Arizona
- “Now look, that damned cowboy is President!” ~referring to Theodore Roosevelt
- All my life I wanted to be a bank robber. Carry a gun and wear a mask. Now that it’s happened I guess I’m just about the best bank robber they ever had. And I sure am happy. ~John Dillinger
- I got poetry in me! ~ John McCabe, in McCabe & Mrs. Miller
- I don’t see any reason to let law interfere with justice around here. We never did before. ~Sid Fleischman, By the Great Horn Spoon
Love me like the wild, wild, wild west
Ride me off in the sunset
Outlaws makin a run for it
Well come on boy, be my cowboy
Keep me by your side all night
And hold me tight like a pearl handle .45
And just let me be the whiskey on your breath
And love me like the wild, wild, wild west. ~Runaway June
Cultural History of the Wild West:
People in the West like to shoot things. When they first got to the Wild West they shot buffalo. Once there were 70 million buffalo on the plains and then the people of the Wild West started blasting away at them. Buffalo are just cows with big heads. If you’ve ever looked a cow in the face and seen the unutterable depths of trust and stupidity that lie within, you will be able to guess how difficult it must have been for people in the Wild West to track down buffalo and shoot them to pieces. By 1895, there were only 800 buffalo left, mostly in zoos and touring Wild West shows. With no buffalo left to kill, Westerners started shooting Indians. Between 1850 and 1890 they reduced the number of Indians in America from two million to 90,000. Nowadays, thank goodness, both have made a recovery. Today there are 30,000 buffalo and 300,000 Indians, and of course you are not allowed to shoot either, so all the Westerners have left to shoot at are road signs and each other, both of which they do rather a lot. There you have a capsule history of the Wild West. ~Bill Bryson
Want more western slang? Here’s a sampling from Legends of America:
Bach – To bachelor it. For men to keep house without a woman’s help. Pronounced, and sometimes spelled, “batch”.
Bacon – Meaning to save one’s self from injury, to save one’s bacon.
Bad Box – To be in a bad box, is to be in a bad predicament.
Bad Egg – A bad person.
Bad Hoss – A bad or wild horse.
Badlands – From a French term meaning “bad country for travel.” The term applied to barren areas of South Dakota as well as other inhospitable western locations.
Bad Medicine – Bad news.
Bag of Nails – Everything in confusion, topsy-turvy.
Bait – Food
Baker’s Dozen – Thirteen.
Bake – To overheat a horse by riding too fast, long, or hard.
Bakes – One’s original stake in a game.
Balderdash – Nonsense, foolishness; empty babble.
Ballast – Money
Balled Up – Confused.
Ballyhoo – Sales talk, advertising, exaggeration.
Balmy – Sleepy, weak-minded, dull.
Balls – To make a mistake, to get in trouble. Or, rubbish such as “all balls” – all rubbish.
Bamboozle – To deceive, impose upon, confound. “After Nick had bamboozled about the money, he was arrested.”
Banagher – To bang
Banco or Bunko Steerer or Roper – A sharper, confidence-trick man.
Banded – Hungry
Bangtail – A wild horse – mustang.
Banjo – A miner’s term for a short-handled shovel.
Bared – Shaved
Barber’s Cat – Half-starved, sickly-looking person.
Barber’s Clerk – A conceited, over-dressed fellow who tries to act like a “gentleman.”
Barefoot – An unshod horse.
Bark – To scalp.
Barkin’ at a Knot – Doing something useless; wasting your time, trying something impossible.
Barking Irons – Pistols.
Barnum – “To talk Barnum” is to not indulge in extravagant, hugh falutin’ talk, but talks in a quiet manner.
Barrens – Elevated lands, or plains upon which grow small trees, but never timber.
Barrow-tram – A rawboned, awkward looking person.
Barrel Boarder – A bum, a low sot.
Barrel Fever – A hangover.
Base Burner – A drink of whiskey.
Bat – A frolic, a spree.
Batting His Eyes – A gambler’s term for men who look on but don’t play.
Battlin’ Stick – A stick to stir clothes in the wash pot.
Bat Wings – Chaps.
Bay – A horse of light-red color.
Bay-window – Pregnancy.
Bazoo – Mouth: “Shut your big bazoo.”
Beads – The bubbles which rise on a glass of wine or spirits.
Bean Eater – A Mexican
Bean Master – The cook
Beating the Road – Traveling on a railroad train without paying, usually referring to a bum.
Beat the Dutch – To beat all or beat the devil. “It was rainin’ to beat the Dutch.”
Beat the Devil around the Stump – To evade responsibility or a difficult task. “Quit beatin’ the devil around the stump and ask that girl to marry you.”
Bed Ground – Where cattle are held at night.
Bed Him Down – To kill a man.
Bed-house – Brothel.
Bed-post – A moment, an instant, jiffy. “He got over here in the twinkling of a bed-post.”
Bed-rock – Not able to go lower. “Is that the bed-rock price?”
Bee – A gathering of friends, family and neighbors to get a specific job done Usually used with women’s quilting get togethers – a quilting bee.
Bee in Your Bonnet – An idea.
Beef – To kill. (This came from killing a cow for food.) “Doc Holiday beefed a man today.”
Beef-headed – Stupid, dull as an ox.
Beef Tea – Shallow water where cows have stood.
Been in the Sun – Drunk
Been Through the Mill – Been through a lot, seen it all.
Bee-sweetening – Honey
Beetle-crushers – Feet
Beeves – Cattle
B’hoy – A rowdy young man, reveler or ruffian.
Beliked – Liked; beloved.
Bellyache – Complain.
Bend an Elbow – Have a drink. “He’s been known to bend an elbow with the boys.”
Bender – Initially referred to a spree or a frolic. Later, and now, also used to describe someone on a drinking binge.
Benzinery – A low-grade drinking place. Cheap whiskey was sometimes called benzene.
Best Bib and Tucker – Wearing your best clothes. “There’s a dance Saturday, so put on your best bib and tucker.”
Between Hay and Grass – Neither man nor boy, half-grown.
B’hoys – Noisy young men of the lower ranks of society.
Bible – A small packet of papers used to roll cigarettes. Also called a “dream book” or a “prayer book.”
Bible Bump – A bump (or cyst) on the wrist or hand that old timers say would disappear if whacked by a large book – such as the bible.
Biddable – Docile, obedient, tractable.
Biddy – Hen. Also used to refer to a nagging or complaining woman.
Biff – To strike in ones face.
Big Augur – Ranch Owner.
Big Bug – Important person, official, boss. “He’s one of the railroad big bugs.”
Biggest Toad in the Puddle – The most important person in a group.
Big Guns – Men of importance, great people.
Big Jump – Death.
Big Nuts to Crack – A difficult or large undertaking.
Big Pasture – The penitentiary
Big Sugar – Ranch owner.
Bilk – Cheat.
Bime-By – By-and-by, soon, in a short time.
Biscuit – Saddle horn.
Biscuit Roller – The cook.
Biscuit Shooter – The cook.
Bishop – An appendage to a lady’s wardrobe, more commonly called a bustle.
Bite the Ground – To be killed.
Bit House – A cheap saloon,
Black-eyed Susan – A six-gun.
Blacksmithing – Pimping for a prostitute.
Black Snake – A long whip.
Black Spot – Shade.
Blackstrap – Gin and molasses
Black Water – Weak coffee.
Blame – Euphemism for damn.
Blarney – Stories, flattery, tall tales, idle discourse.
Blather – Impudence. “I’ll have none of your blather.”
Blatherskite – A blustering, noisy, talkative fellow.
Blazes – Euphemism for hell or the devil.
Blow – To taunt; to ridicule. Also means to turn informer on an accomplice.
Blow Out – A feast; also called a tuck out.
Blue – Drunk.
Blue Devils – Dispirited. “I have the blue devils today.”
Blue Lightnin’ – A six-gun.
Blue Stocking – An epithet applied to literary ladies.
Blusteration – The noise of a braggart.
Bobbery – A squabble, argument.
Bobtail Guard – The first cowboy guarding the cattle at night.
Bockey – A bowl or vessel made from a gourd.
Bocking – Cotton or woollen cloth used to cover floors or to protect carpets.
Bodega – Spanish term for a cheap saloon.
Boggy Top – A pie baked without a top crust.
Boil Over – A horse that starts bucking.
Bolt – To swallow food without chewing
Bonanza – The discovery of an exceptionally rich vein of gold or silver.
Bone Orchard – Cemetery.
Boodle – A crowd of people.
Boogered Up – Crippled or badly injured.
Boot-licker – The equivalent of an ass-kisser.
Boose – Drink liquor.
Boosy – Fuddled or a little intoxicated.
Boosily – Lazily, in a state of intoxication.
Boot Yard – This was a cemetery, especially for those who died with their boots on; also called boothill, bone yard, bone orchard, grave patch.
Born Days – All one’s lifetime; since one was born. “In all my born days I never saw a man so big.”
Bosh – Nonsense. “It was absolute bosh what he said.”
Boss – The best, top. “The Alhambra Saloon sells the boss whiskey in town.”
Bossy – A familiar name applied to a calf.
Boston Dollar – A penny.
Bottom-Lands – In the Western States, this name was given to the rich flat land on the banks of rivers.
Bottled Courage – Whiskey.
Bouncing – Large, heavy. “Sally gave birth to a bouncing baby girl.
Bouge – To swell out, to bulge.
Bowie-Knife – A knife from ten to fifteen inches long and about two inches broad, so named after its inventor, James Bowie.
Box Herder – The person in charge of the women at a brothel.
Brack – A breach, a broken part.
Brain Tablet – Cigarette.
Brand Artist – A rustler who alters brands with a running iron.
Brash – Brittle.
Breachy – A term applied to unruly oxen.
Brigham Young Cocktail – Strong whiskey.
Brisk Up – To come up with life and speed, take an erect or bold attitude.
Broke in Two – A horse bucking.
Bronc Buster – A cowboy who could tame wild horses. Contrary to popular thinking, not all cowboys could ride just any horse, though most could ride any broken mount. But the bronc buster, also called a “bronc peeler” and a “bronc breaker,” was a breed apart. These men, with a special type of “horse sense” earned not only the esteem of the other cowboys, but usually better wages.
Brother-Chip – A fellow-carpenter; in a more general sense, a person of the same trade.
Brown Study – Deep thought; absence of mind. “He is in a brown study.”
Brown Gargle – Coffee.
Brush – A skirmish, or fight.
Bub – Brother
Buckaroo – A cowboy usually from the desert country of Oregon, Nevada, California or Idah
See also Mustangs Stampede.