The lonely west was a tragedy.
See, we are all social.
Said differently, we were made for each other – we were made to interact.
And to the extent when and where relationships are broken, or never existed in the first place, there is hurt.
At times, this lonely fact has been driven by nothing other than geography.
Because all you have to do to stretch people is to put enough distance between them.
The Bedouin, the soldier, the artist.
This is true of the cowboy too, for those living a solitary life will always be the odd-man-out.
“What rodeos, movies, Western art, and pulp fiction all miss is the overwhelming loneliness of the westering experience. When my uncles (and even my father, for a year or two) were cowboying in the Panhandle they would eagerly ride horseback as much as thirty-five miles to a dance or a social, and then ride back and be ready to work at dawn. In Montana, Nebraska, Wyoming, the distances were even greater. Many Westerners were alone so much that loneliness was just in them, to a degree that finally made domestic and social relations difficult, if not secondary. The old joke that cowboys get along better with horses than they do with women is not a joke, it’s a tragedy.”
–Larry McMurtry, Walter Benjamin At The Dairy Queen
Also published on Medium.