Roger Roberts: Rifleman on Horse
Artist: Roger Roberts
No other period in United States history has entranced the American public as fully as the fabled era of the Western cowboy. From the 1860s when the great cattle drives pushed north from Texas to raucous towns such as Abilene and Dodge, until 1890 when the first strands of barbwire fenced off the wide open range into homogenous pastures, the cowboy and his horse dominated the West. Embroidered into larger-than-life heroes by the popular dime novels of the era -- Dodge lawman Bat Masterson, for example, was credited with killing 23 men when he actually only killed three -- the cowboy's image has lasted longer than the cowboy himself. When motion pictures debuted in the 20th century, the cowboy was captured once again and film stars such as Tom Mix, Gene Autry and John Wayne rose to hero status. For more than a century, Americans have fantasized about this romantic era. Schoolchildren from New York to Los Angeles have fought mock gunfights in city streets and older "children" have donned boots, jeans and hats as Western garb itself has boomed in popularity. And singers, too, have helped the legend live on. A Western craze in the 1970s caused singer Barbara Mandrell to lament "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool" while Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings warned "Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys." The Western fad died down in the '80s, only to resurge again in the 1990s, a decade which saw Oklahoma cowboy singer Garth Brooks rise to the top in both country and pop music charts.
This painting was originally published on the Fleetwood® First Day Cover for the Australia 22¢ Waltzing Matilda Squatter on Horseback stamp issued May 7, 1980.
Artwork Copyright © 1980 Unicover Corporation. All Rights Reserved under United States and international copyright laws. You may not reproduce, distribute, transmit, or otherwise exploit the Artwork in any way. Images of the Artwork may be watermarked and/or digitally watermarked. Any sale of the physical original does not include or convey the Copyright or any right comprised in the copyright.
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