You’ve seen the movies, but what was it really like to be a cowboy in the Wild West?

Anyone who’s ever seen a Hollywood movie about cowboys in the Wild West has dreamed of a life out on the trails. Wide open land, adventure, and cooking by campfire sounds pretty perfect, right? Sure, except cowboy-life wasn’t exactly the same as the movies. So what what was it like in the Wild West?

IRL: What Was It REALLY Like to Be a Cowboy In The Wild West?

So was the life of a cowboy as exciting as it seems in the movies? It was definitely exciting, but not because of gunfights at the O.K. Corral. The life was exciting because as they moved with the cattle, the men (and rarely women) were the target of bandits, wild animals, nature, illness, and injury. Playing a round of The Oregon Trail might feel more like real life than what you see in the movies.

In the video below, you’ll learn more about what it was really like for a cowboy in the Wild West:

The life of a cowboy in the 1800s was a full plate of hard work, danger, and monotony with a heaping helping of dust, snakes, bugs, and beans on the side.