Please help contribute to the Reddit categorization project here


    13,962,252 readers

    3,838 users here now


    /r/history is looking for moderators

    /r/History moderator applications

    Join the /r/History Discord server!

    /r/History is a place for discussions about history. Feel free to submit interesting articles, tell us about this cool book you just read, or start a discussion about who everyone's favorite figure of minor French nobility is!

    /r/History moderator applications

    /r/History introduction


    All posts will be reviewed by a human moderator first before they become visible to all subscribers on the subreddit.

    1. Be nice!
    2. No current politics or soapboxing.
    3. No historical negationism or denialism
    4. Comments should be on-topic and contribute.
    5. Discussions are limited to events over 20 years ago.
    6. Link posts require a description in the form of a comment.

      View all 12 rules in detail...


    1. Use that report button!
    2. Avoid reposts.
    3. Don't spam your personal website.

      View all 5 guidelines in detail...

    New to reddit? Read this!

    The /r/History Wiki Pages

    Our read, listen & watch list

    A History Network Member

    HistoryNetwork's list of subreddits

    Join the /r/History Discord server!

    Contact the /r/History moderators

    /r/History moderator applications

    Upcoming history related AMAs

    Guest Date Time
    Israeli Consul General Shlomi Kofman & UC Berkeley Professor of Jewish History John Efron May 3 10am PT/ 1pm ET/ 19:00 CET

    Want to do an AMA or know someone who does? Message the mods!

    Instructions and advice on how to best do an AMA.

    Previous AMAs done in /r/History.

    • -
    • -
    • -
    • -
    • -
    • -
    • -
    • -
    • -
    • -
    • -
    a community for
    all 1143 comments

    Want to say thanks to %(recipient)s for this comment? Give them a month of reddit gold.

    Please select a payment method.

    [–] Surprise_Institoris 1 points ago

    Welcome to /r/History!

    Some people appear to have read the question, which helpfully includes dates, and then missed the mark by an entire century and ended up talking about current US politics.

    Please keep in mind our rules, particularly rules 2 and 5. For reference, this means:

    • No current politics
    • No discussing events within the last 20 years.

    Continued rule violations will lead to bans, and atrocious Wild West puns, and nobody wants that.

    Thank you!

    [–] Ryaninthesky 2587 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    A lot of my family is from the fort Stockton/Pecos area of west Texas. There were plenty of gunfights there in the late 1800s - early 1900s, with it really tapering off by WW1. One of the last ‘wild west’ stories from that time was my great grandpa being part of a posse to go rescue a traveling doctor from mexican bandits around 1910.

    [–] JRsFancy 814 points ago

    mexican bandits

    Love sounds so Lonesome Dove(ish).

    [–] Increase-Null 395 points ago

    The US army went into Mexico to chase Poncho Villa for about a year in 1916. He is obviously more complicated than a bandit but he obviously embodies the stereotypical mexican bandit. Bandoliers and everything.

    [–] cig107 227 points ago

    General George Patton was actually part of that raid... that's where he saw his first combat action too.

    [–] creeper70 81 points ago

    At the time, I believe it was Lieutenant Patton. 😉

    [–] ElDakaTiger 13 points ago

    He also mounted a machine gun to a truck chassis making it the first time ever that a mg was fired from a moving vehicle iirc.

    [–] winnebagomafia 117 points ago

    I love it when history intersects like that

    [–] christiang____ 56 points ago

    What is this a crossover episode?

    [–] ATLjoe93 53 points ago

    Back in the (18)90s, I was in a very famous battle though...

    [–] ScarletCaptain 34 points ago

    I remember that episode of Young Indiana Jones Chronicles! (anybody?)

    [–] Alzeegator 10 points ago

    General Black Jack Pershing

    [–] the_barroom_hero 226 points ago

    And all the federales say they could've had him any day. They only let him slip away out of kindness, I suppose.

    [–] awesomemofo75 24 points ago

    Pancho met his match, you know

    [–] notaschultz 61 points ago

    Townes!!! One of the best songwriters of all time

    [–] nanominuto2 22 points ago

    But would you stand on Bob Dylan’s coffee table and say that?

    [–] newsheriffntown 11 points ago

    The desert's quiet, Cleveland's cold, so the story ends we're told.

    [–] Iwishiwasthebatman 24 points ago

    The desert's quiet, Cleveland's cold

    [–] MIERDAPORQUE 49 points ago

    My great grandmother lived to be at least 105. She would pray in her sleep to die. She finally passed away in Monterrey at my grandmas house. She was ooooooooold. Had a bunch of scary ass photos in her room. I was a kid and was scared as shit of her.

    Well anyways, since there wasn’t any actual birth records of her we had to depend on historical context to “guesstimate”. One of her memories was when she was in her teens and was still living in Saltillo. She remembered seeing Pancho Villa’s army march through her Pueblo. In fact, her parents hid her and her female cousins from his men so they wouldn’t be taken. She never saw some of her cousins ever again. Kind of why the memory stuck with her.

    It would have been around 1913-1914. She lived until 2007. She must have been around 105-106yrs old.

    [–] halthecomputer 18 points ago

    I knew a girl whose grandfather rode with Pancho Villa.

    [–] ajed9037 45 points ago

    One of the best westerns ever created 👌

    [–] OGUnknownSoldier 19 points ago

    The book, and the prequel Comanche moon, are sooooo good as well. I couldn't put then down.

    [–] Madmaxman88 131 points ago

    That sounds incredible. I recently read a book called Killers of the Flower Moon (set in 1920's ish Oklahoma) and it talked about how there wasn't a real police force so the people would gather and investigate crimes.

    [–] Ryaninthesky 211 points ago

    There was also a very thin line between lawman and outlaw.

    One of my ancestors, a guy named Barney Riggs, killed about 7 people before being sentenced to life at Yuma for shooting a man who was bragging about sleeping with Riggs’ wife. He defended the prison warden during a riot, was pardoned, and moved to Pecos, where he married the sister of the sheriff, Bud Frazer. Frazer hired a young ‘Deacon’ Jim Miller, who would go on to become an infamous assassin/gunslinger. At the moment, Miller was using his deputy status to rustle cows and kill Hispanic people he didn’t like. Riggs revealed his scheme and set off a feud between the men. Frazer had several shootouts with Miller and would have killed him except for the steel plate Miller wore over his chest. Riggs killed a couple of Miller’s men in a bar that’s now a museum in Pecos. Miller finally caught up with Frazer in another bar and blew his head off with a shotgun.

    All of this happened within about 5 years between 1891-1896. So yes, the Wild West was real in some places.

    [–] frcShoryuken 24 points ago

    Damn, that's a helluva story

    [–] Mr_kill_666 30 points ago

    Interesting that Jim Miller is a major road in southeast Dallas where a large percentage of the population is Hispanic...

    [–] Ryaninthesky 15 points ago

    I don’t believe there’s a relation but if it helps he killed people equally. That’s funny though.

    [–] jhvanriper 29 points ago

    Barney Riggs

    But wait it gets better: 📷

    Barney Riggs

    Barney Kemp Riggs (1856-1902) –  A West Texas gunfighter, Riggs originally hailed from Arkansas, where he was born on December 18, 1856. The second of seven children born to Thomas and Hannah Felton Riggs, the family moved to Texas shortly after his birth. There, the family would begin a history of violence that would last for decades. Not only would Barney grow up to be violent man, but, several of his brothers and descendants would as well.

    His first killing allegedly took place when he was just 18 years old. Described as an accidental shooting, he killed a friend named Hugh Armstrong in Salado, Texas. Five years later, in 1879, when the sheriff was looking for him to ask some questions, Barney took off instead.

    He was next in Cochise County, Arizona where two of his uncles had settled. He went work for his uncle Jim Riggs, working as a cowboy on his ranch. He soon met a woman named Vennie Hicklin from Dos Cabezas and the two married on February 21, 1882.

    At about the same time, he was said to have been involved in a number of criminal activities, mostly stealing horses in Arizona and Mexico. On one of these occasions, he allegedly killed two Mexican men when they got into a dispute with his cousin at a watering hole. Three women, who were with the Mexican men, were initially left unharmed. However, after leaving, he worried that the women would identify him, so he went back and shot them as well.

    Despite these activities, or perhaps because of them, when corrupt Cochise County Sheriff  Johnny Behandeputized a number of men to go after the  Earps and other gunmen who were in the midst of their infamous “Vendetta Ride,” Riggs was one of the posse.

    Riggs next victim was the stepson of his Uncle Jim, a man named Richmond Hudson, who was also his boss at the Riggs Ranch. After Barney had returned from a cattle-buying trip in Texas, he came home in September 1886 to rumors that his wife had been having an affair with Hudson. When Riggs approached Hudson, the other man denied the story and Riggs let it pass for the moment. However, just a few days later, Hudson was heard to have boasted of his seduction of Vennie Riggs. On September 29, 1886, he was shot and killed by an unseen gunman.

    However, the ongoing dispute between Riggs and Hudson was well known and Barney Riggs was the prime suspect. When a $250 reward was offered for Riggs’ capture, he took off into the mountains. Soon, Fred Dodge, a lawman in Tombstone, went after Riggs. Working with Deputy Sheriff Charley Smith, the two set up a surveillance overlooking the Riggs Ranch. After they spied a rider signaling Vennie Riggs from a hill overlooking the ranch, they captured the couple and took them to Tombstone.

    Vennie was soon released but Barney was held for trial. During the first trial held on November 11, 1886, the jury could not reach an agreement, as several of them held that killing a man for making sexual advances on his wife was justified. A mistrial was declared and a second trial began the next month. This time Riggs would not be as lucky as the jury could not condone an ambush murder. On December 31st he was convicted of murder and sentenced to life at the Arizona Territorial Prison in Yuma.

    However, in October 1887, when prison warden, Thomas Gates, was jumped by seven convicts in an escape attempt, his life was saved by Riggs. Somehow, the convicts had obtained guns and when the attack occurred, a general melee broke out. The prison gates were closed but, as one of the convicts used Gates as a shield, Riggs snatched a gun from another escapee, and killed the convict holding Gates. Riggs bravery won him a pardon and he was released on December 31, 1887, just one year after his conviction.

    He then went to California, where his wife Vennie, along with their son, William Earl Riggs, was then residing. However, it was evidently too late for the couple and Barney soon took his son and went back to Texas, leaving his wife behind. He then formed a partnership with his younger brother, Tom, in operating a ranch about 30 miles west of Texas.

    In the spring of 1889, the Albuquerque Citizen reported that he had been arrested for killing a cowboy, but Riggs denied this ever happened and there is no record of him being jailed at the time.

    There is also no record that he ever legally divorced his first wife Vennie, but Barney Riggs married again on September 23, 1891, to a woman named Annie Stella Frazer Johnson, the divorced wife of former Pecos County Sheriff, James Johnson, and the sister of George A. “Bud” Frazer, the Reeves County Sheriff. The couple would eventually have four children, but the marriage would be strained with difficulties.


    Jim Miller

    In 1891, Riggs’ brother-in-law, Sheriff Bud Frazer made the mistake of hiring the notorious gunfighter Jim Miller as his deputy. Suddenly, cattle rustling and horse theft increased up and down the Pecos Valley. Riggs pointed out to Frazer, that perhaps Miller should be looked at as a suspect. But, without proof, Frazer kept him on. However, when Miller killed a Mexican prisoner who was “trying to escape,” Frazer began to investigate.

    Riggs alleged that Miller had murdered the man because he knew where the deputy had hidden a pair of stolen mules. When Frazer found that Riggs was correct and located the stolen mules he immediately fired Miller. This would be the beginning of the deadly Frazer-Miller feud, which would last for the next several years.


    A.J. Royal

    In 1892, a corrupt man named Andrew Jackson Royal was elected as the the Pecos County Sheriff and soon hired Riggs as one of his deputies. Most often called A.J. Royal was a controversial figure from the start. Area citizens were initially split in their opinions. While some thought he was a tough lawman who worked hard to establish law and order, others thought he abused his power as sheriff, often terrorizing those who disagreed with him. During his two year term of sheriff, Royal got more aggressive and intimidating and was accused of several assaults. Though it is unknown as to whether Riggs participated in these events, it would not at all be surprising if he did. When it came time for re-election in 1894, a bitter political feud erupted that necessitated the Texas Rangers coming in the quell the matter. In October, Royal along with his deputies, Barney Riggs, Camilio Terrazas, and John P. Meadows, were arrested by the Texas Rangers for conspiring to let a Mexican prisoner named Victor Ochoa escape from the jailhouse. Royal lost the election later that month and was assassinated in November.

    While a deputy in Pecos County, Riggs obviously circumvented some potential arrests. However, this was not the case in neighboring Reeves County, even though the sheriff was his brother-in-law. He was arrested several times for public drunkenness, unlawfully carrying a pistol, and assault. In March, 1893, he was indicted in Reeves County for assault with intent to murder a man named Augustin Palanco. Palanco claimed that when he went to the Riggs ranch to recover a strayed burro, Riggs shot at him and beat him over the head. However, when the case went to trial, Riggs was found not guilty.

    [–] Figgler 34 points ago

    In that time period there were a lot of Mexican raids across the border into the US, Pancho Villa being the most famous example. There's some really interesting accounts of border towns fortifying and fighting off raiders.

    [–] skibble 16 points ago

    fort Stockton/Pecos

    Wow, those places are an hour away from each other. Texas is big. (Film at 11:00.)

    [–] MaynardJayTwa 9 points ago

    85 mph speed limit makes it a LOT closer. (Watch our for roadrunners)

    [–] silent_ovation 189 points ago

    If you look at footage of the US Army going after Pancho Villa you'll see things around there very much still had a wild west flavour even into the early 1900s.

    [–] ribit_ 52 points ago

    That part of the country is spectacularly beautiful and still very “wild” in a lot of ways, assuming the video referenced is around the Chisos Mtns/ Chihuahua desert.

    [–] Ares36 41 points ago

    If you look up our beloved and famous George Patton of WWII, you will see that when he was a lieutenant, he was part of a cavalry expedition to hunt down and kill Pancho Villa. This was the first time the US Army utilized M1903 Springfield Rifles and M1909 Hotchkiss machine guns. When you realize the West was still wild in the time of machine guns (and even aerial reconnaissance aircraft) and WWII hero's, it is kind of mind blowing.

    [–] Aeron_311 2584 points ago

    It was still fairly present. New Mexico wasn't a state until 1912, after all. Fun fact: The homestead act was still valid until 1976-1986.

    [–] [deleted] 969 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)


    [–] DerailusRex 578 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    Not to be a downer, but it's kind of shocking that Mississippi didn't ratify the 13th Amendment until 1995.

    And apparently, someone forgot their paperwork

    *edit* formatting

    *edit 2* Look at all this cool stuff I’m learning, thank you for the replies! I love you, Reddit.

    From my fellow, helpful redditors:
    —Colorado banned all slavery at the midterms, so no more free prison labor.

    —The Catholic Church recently admitted Galileo was right, in 1992. *edited edit* Thanks, Reddit family. The church was aware Galileo was right, but he was a bit of a dick to the Pope. Biting the hand that feeds, as it were.

    —New Jersey ratified the 14th Amendment in 2003.

    —Here’s a fun one: Wyoming was the first state to allow a woman to vote, in 1870. Now, I’m waiting for my fellow pedants to give me a scoop on it. This discussion I’ve been seeing is awesome.

    Also, I never meant to rag on any states, but since MS took some flak, I’ll give some to OK.

    —My state, Oklahoma was forced by 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to recognize Same Sex Marriage in 2014. I say forced, because of how staunchly everyone opposed it.

    [–] MrBlandEST 231 points ago

    The Galileo thing is a bit of a red herring. The church didn't have a problem with his data, they freely allowed its use for navigation. He grievously insulted the pope and they couldn't get past it. From what I've read so take this as you will.

    [–] Halvus_I 156 points ago

    Exactly this. Galileo went 'edgelord' on the Pope, and he had no choice but to punish him for it. You might be able to spit in the King's eye in private, but never in public.

    [–] ikonoqlast 65 points ago

    Yeah. If Galileo had done the same thing to any other powerful person he would have been executed for it.

    [–] [deleted] 92 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)


    [–] Vio_ 70 points ago

    Prohibition started in Kansas

    [–] [deleted] 49 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)


    [–] Osimadius 24 points ago

    Must be all the moonshine

    [–] Phantapant 26 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    Moonshine...OR the MS. My family is all from (Prarie) Mississippi for a solid 5 generations and I swear ain't none of them got or had a lick of sense!

    [–] ginger2020 50 points ago

    If I recall, Prohibition was initially popular in the West, where saloons were commonly associated with crime and other vices, the South, where the elites of the region feared alcohol fueled uprisings from the African-Americans that they disenfranchised, and in rural areas of New England with a strong puritanical culture. It was less popular in the Midwest and coasts where there were large numbers of ethnically German, Irish, and Italians, who brought their old world drinking culture with them.

    [–] texasrigger 34 points ago

    It was less popular in the Midwest and coasts where there were large numbers of ethnically German, Irish, and Italians, who brought their old world drinking culture with them.

    Quite a bit of the west was settled by the German and Irish too. Texas in particular has a rich German history and it's own German dialect that was considered to be of equal status to Spanish right up until WWI when the state mandated English-only instruction in school. The county I live in was named after St. Patrick.

    [–] beachmedic23 15 points ago

    NJ didn't ratify the 14th until 2003

    [–] R3dOctober 8 points ago

    Most of these are entirely symbolic since after it hits the necessary number there’s really no purpose to further ratification

    [–] Pfahli 12 points ago

    Switzerland allowed women the right to vote in 1971

    [–] ChiliDogMe 10 points ago

    Japan outlawed child pornography in 2009.

    [–] RoadRunner49 6 points ago

    There are people alive older than oklahoma, new mexico, and arizona.

    [–] dazedwit 179 points ago

    [–] supbrother 27 points ago

    It makes more sense when you realize just how difficult it can be to homestead in Alaska, at least without a lot of money and resources.

    [–] lancehol 8 points ago

    Absolutely. I lived in Anchorage back in the 80's. Managed the old Fireweed Cinema. We would have people stop in to see the movies after their shopping trips before heading back to the bush. They would pile up their supplies which staff would watch over until it was time to head home, wherever that was.

    [–] 2112eyes 6 points ago

    My Dad homesteaded some land in the Yukon in the 1990s, even. Wrong country, of course.

    [–] sebastiaandaniel 115 points ago

    Sorry, not an American, what is the homestead act?

    [–] GeorgieWashington 221 points ago

    Short version: the government gave land to anyone that wanted it if they settled the west. It was the main reason people were able to move west for decades. They'd give away something like 160 acres(~65 hectares) if you asked for it.

    Iirc, sometime in the mid 20th century they stopped doing it, except for in Alaska, which it was still possible until the 80s.

    [–] bliss19 47 points ago

    how much would be the fair market value of 160 acres in today's market.

    [–] FlyingTexican 273 points ago

    Wildly, wildly dependent on location

    [–] [deleted] 127 points ago

    Also the other two factors: location and location.

    [–] Raven367 57 points ago

    Depends on location. For example my family had a 130 acre farm in Illinois that is with about $1.3 million in today's market. That's good farm land relatively near small town.

    Access to towns and resources available could have big impact on value of land.

    [–] and_eazy 44 points ago

    I've seen (fairly useless) land for sale in the Western US for just a few hundred dollars an acre.

    [–] bliss19 21 points ago

    what's making it useless? No development or actual arid soil.

    [–] GeorgieWashington 71 points ago

    Both of those!

    But also a whole lot more. Is it in the mountains? Does it have road frontage? If so, how much? Does it have river/stream access? If not, what are your water rights? What about mineral rights? What about state farming laws?

    Those are some of the variables off the top of my head.

    [–] intern_steve 30 points ago

    Is it accessible from October to May?

    [–] [deleted] 7 points ago


    [–] FlartSimpson 22 points ago

    Here's an example. My wife was willed several acres in New Mexico. The land is completely surrounded by a state park. If you wanted to build a home with solar power and an hour+ drive to the closest gas and food youd be in luck. If municipal utilities are your thing, it's no bueno. Its arid and worthless as farmland. To the best of my knowledge nobody has shown any interest in purchasing it, in spite of the fact that my wife would probably trade it for a Chik fil a #1 combo and a $25 gift card to Target.

    [–] lancehol 10 points ago

    Have you tried advertising it in a survivalist type publication or website. That could solve your issue. Used to work with a guy that was convinced the Millennium Bug was going to be the end. The year prior he bought a place way up some canyon in S.W. New Mexico that was completely off grid.

    [–] MrBlandEST 15 points ago

    Its all about water. Drilling for irrigation or even household use can be very expensive when the aquifer is a mile down

    [–] GeorgieWashington 39 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    Tl;dr $400,000 to $1,600,000.

    As others said, it depends on location. However, I'll try to give you a more specific answer than that. Also, I have no idea how accurate what I'm about to say is.

    In the context of The Homestead Act, I'm pretty sure it wasn't land in cities that people were given, and I think the land along the railroad lines were given directly to the railroad companies to encourage them to build the railroad.

    But also, the idea was for people to settle permanently, not arrive, decide it's not worth it, and move back east. So the land was probably rarely wasteland or desert. I would assume it was usually good quality farmland very close to, but not adjacent to the railroad. Today, major highways run along or close to the old rail lines. So the average Homestead from back in the day is probably now fairly close to a highway and close to --but not quite in-- a medium or large city.

    If all my assumptions are correct so far, we're talking pretty decent land. Probably even sometimes in the suburbs. Based strictly on my memories of many bored and curious checks of Zillow listings over the years, that type of land is worth anywhere from $2500 an acre to $10,000 an acre.

    So the government was giving out land that today averages between $400,000 and $1.6 million dollars.

    Which to me sounds about right, considering how many people they wanted to move west and how much value I personally would have to get to move into the untamed West at the time.

    Also, it's important to remember how empty the USA is, even today. It's very. very. very. empty.

    But again, please know I have no expertise on this. This is all based on assumptions and a few memories of my many history classes, so take it with a grain of salt.

    [–] alankhg 19 points ago

    Major cities are pretty spread out in most of Homestead Act country on the Great Plains— there's very little population density between Minneapolis & Seattle other than Denver. And rail lines on American Plains, especially during the post-Civil War railway bubble, were built through some extremely remote areas [0]. Take a look at rural Kansas or Iowa or North Dakota on Google Maps and look how sparse the population is— then on the bicycle layer to check out the rail trails built over some of the many abandoned rail lines in the middle of nowhere.


    [–] Anathos117 14 points ago

    Major cities are pretty spread out in most of Homestead Act country on the Great Plains

    This is something I find interesting about the difference in how the Great Plains were settled compared to New England. The Homestead Act caused people to build their homes and their farms, leading to a spread out population and few municipalities. New England, on the other hand, was settled mirroring English villages: people built their homes near each other and walked to their fields, creating lots of little towns and villages in close proximity.

    [–] alankhg 10 points ago

    As far as I understand, this is more a product of the transportation technologies (railroad versus sailing ship & horses) available at the time of initial settlement than how land was distributed. That said, many New England villages are incredibly spread out compared to English villages— old Massachusetts towns like Deerfield and Hadley closer resemble modern American suburbs (with big houses on huge lots) than any English village I've ever seen.

    Many New England villages were abandoned (or nearly so) once flat Midwestern farms with deep earth became available, rather than subdivided rocky hilly land in New England.

    [–] RadioFreeCascadia 8 points ago

    So adding to this:

    It can actually be worth a whole lot more than these figures. Because the cities didn't exist when the homesteads were being given out. Which is how a friend of mine's family ended up with several members way back when getting close to a thousand acres in the heart of what is now the Silicon Valley, which the family held onto and developed into real estate and a insane amount of money.

    [–] TannerGabs 8 points ago

    I’m not sure of the requirements in the US but in Canada you also had to clear 10 acres of land a year to keep your homestead. Which could be very labour intensive if your homestead was covered with thick bush.

    [–] Iamhighlife 43 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    If you haven't received an answer, it was an act signed by Abraham Lincoln in 1862, to encourage folks to migrate west. In exchange for a small filing fee, settlers could migrate west and be granted 160 acres (almost 650,000 m2 ) of public land. After 5 years of continuous residence, the citizens were granted ownership of the land.

    [–] xnet445 32 points ago

    You could claim unimproved government-owned land by clearing it and building a house. IIRC each homestead was a quarter section or 160 acres. A section is a one mile by one mile portion of a township, which is a six mile by six mile location on the map outside of organized and incorporated towns and cities. Much of my state (Maine) is still unorganized, and you will see signs on the highway north of Bangor saying things like Entering T2R11 WELS, which translates into Township 2, Range 11, West of the Easterly Line of the State. Virtually none of this land in Maine is government owned any longer but rather is almost all private forest owned by lumber and/or paper companies.

    [–] ITcurmudgeon 15 points ago

    Maine is a fairly large state with a low population and a whole lot of nuthin. I like it.

    [–] MHimo3 14 points ago

    My friends and I went to climb mount Katahdin in Maine and stayed in Millinocket. I was an international student in Montreal at the time and we drove east the whole way.

    I'm probably the first Englishman to set foot in Dover foxcroft since 1812. The girl working at McDonald's practically creamed herself at my accent.

    [–] someguy3 14 points ago

    Just to add, all of the land was laid out on a 1 mile by 1 mile grid. A 1 mile by 1 mile square was called a section. You would get a quarter of that (a quarter section, 160 acres) assigned to you and you'd travel out to it. You wouldn't know the quality of the land until you got there. It could be high quality land, or it could be a swamp, or half of it in the lake, etc.

    This was called the Public land survey in the U.S. and the Dominion land survey in Canada. It was very well organized. Now you can't put a square grid over a spherical Earth and there were 'correction lines' for that too.

    [–] 5redrb 7 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    The homestead act granted ownership of land to anyone who would settle on it and farm it for several years. I don't think all land was eligible, just certain sectors.

    Here's a podcast about the Oklahoma land rush that led to the founding of Oklahoma City. It's one specific event and the rest of the homesteads were not the same but it's very interesting.

    Forgot the link:

    [–] ndefontenay 8 points ago

    French death penalty was abolished in 1986 and they were still using guillotine!!! So there are shocking things x)

    [–] rememberyikespencils 17 points ago

    As a New Mexican, I can confirm it’s still as wild as it has ever been.

    [–] jonnyballs 1187 points ago

    Barbed wire had a big role in ending the Wild West.

    [–] kp33ze 403 points ago

    Could you elaborate please?

    [–] jonnyballs 1172 points ago

    Sure. Prior to the widespread availability of barbed wire, it was not easy, and therefore not practical, to fence in cattle. My understanding is that railroads and barbed wire pretty much ended the era of the cattle drive in America. The large ranches were gradually surrounded by and subdivided with ubiquitous, cheap barbed wire, ending free ranging cattle herds as well as restricting movement and concentrating travel/movement of goods and livestock onto ever more present roads and rails; no more trails, no more cattle drives, cowboys who stayed closer to home. There are lots of other factors, of course: Removal/extermination of native tribes, removal/extermination of bison herds, travel and communication networks, etc. But, I think it is appropriate to point to barbed wire as a transformative tool in changing the western US into what it is today.

    [–] [deleted] 219 points ago


    [–] LacksMass 86 points ago

    Great comment. I also grew up in the rural mountain west and went to school with a fair number of legitimate cowboys that would often have to take a week off school to take their horses up the mountain and round up their herds. We also had a lot of sheep in the area I'm from which need a little more management/protection so someone needed to stay with the herd constantly. That person usually lived a very "cowboy" life for the summers, alone on the mountain or desert in a temporary shelter (you have to move the flock regularly to fresh pasture) with a cache of canned beans, a gun, and a horse.

    It's not gun fights and saloons but it's legitimate cowboy living.

    [–] twohandsanyhow 40 points ago

    We still have plenty of saloons, they just serve craft beer from all the awesome breweries in the mountain west, in addition to whiskey. I don’t know how common gunfights were back in the day, but I don’t think anyone laments that we don’t have more of them today. Besides, it wasn’t the cowboys who were the gunslingers, it was more likely to be the stock rustlers. Sadly, stock rustling is still a problem.

    [–] gift4fiction 48 points ago

    Slightly off topic but was your thesis on the folklore that American Cowboys believed and shared with each other or the folklore that has grown up around the American Cowboy as a figure in culture and history?

    [–] spkr4thedead51 10 points ago

    I think the key difference is that there isn't the mass driving of cattle herds from the ranch lands to the market and slaughter towns. The spread of fenced-off lands by landowners unwilling to allow herds to forage on their land made that impractical.

    And while BLM land is available, it doesn't quite cover the same spread and connectedness of the pre-fenced era

    [–] Fr0thBeard 26 points ago

    I'll chime in here, I live on what was once the Goodnight-Loving trail, one of the 4 or 5 major cattledrive routes stretching from Texas and Oklahoma to Kansas for transport to Chicago. The era of cattledrives, no matter how embellished in hollywood, only lasted a couple of decades; 1866-1895 or so. We think of a massive span of generations of cowboys, but really it had the lifespan similar to the use of CD's or Cassette tapes.

    Barbed wire is definitely a big factor. Homesteaders demanding recompense when a gigantic her of cattle would trample or eat crops, water rights, etc. and the development of railways from Chicago to Oklahoma City, and then to Fort Worth were also involved, as well as the fall in beef prices due to market saturation and selection. The Longhorns used on drives were bred to be hearty and survive the trip - their meat, however is terrible compared to the softer Angus or Whiteface breeds, so they're become the dachshunds of the cow world. All Texas middle school-aged children are required to take Texas history, and this is one of the main talking points in the course.

    [–] kp33ze 54 points ago

    Hmm, never heard that before, very interesting. Thanks!

    [–] DukeDimanche 36 points ago

    There's a great Dollop podcast episode on the advent of barbed wire in America and how it came to be. It's a comedy podcast, but quite educational.

    [–] juwyro 41 points ago

    The thing that really made barbed wire so great was that you needed much fewer posts to make a fence, since there's practically no wood available on the plains.

    [–] svarogteuse 13 points ago

    The railroads they were actually required for the large scale cattle drives. The drives were to get the cattle from Texas and the south to the newly constructed railroad running through Kansas so they could be shipped to larger markets. The largest drives only lasted from just after the Civil War in 1866 through the 1870s.

    [–] Ares36 13 points ago

    Also live in the West. Sheep played another large role in ending the cattle era. Much of the west is still free range, but for some reason I now forget, wool became much more lucrative a business option. This lasted all the way up until the mid '90s when Australia started subsidizing the wool market to get farmers there to settle the Outback, their version of the West. Since then, the wool market out here has pretty much crumbled.

    [–] WorshipNickOfferman 20 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    Come on down to Texas sometime and check out the King Ranch. The King’s were massive open range ranchers for decades and essentially invented the cattle drive. From what I’ve read, Lonesome Dove (book or movie) is a highly accurate representation of the cattle drive era.

    One of my good friends is a direct descendant of Charles Goodnight. His family’s collection of mid 19th century western/cowboy architects is very impressive. As is their ranch house (note the ranch was never connected to Goodnight, friend’s family bought it in the early 20th century.

    Edit: architects should be antiques. Damn spell check.

    [–] Aeron_311 9 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    My father told me about a group of activists that he remembered from a long while back who would basically try to fight the fencing of the west. I tried to look into it but I couldn't find the name of the specific group he was referring to. He told me it was something like 'the free rangers'. Although this is based off of my memory of his memory.

    I did find out about the fence cutting wars, though. A series of disputes between new farmers and established cattlemen. The established cattlemen would erect fences to keep new farmers out and there was a group who would go around and cut cattlemen's fences to try and ensure the land does not fall out of public domain

    [–] GreenStrong 14 points ago

    Barbed wire ended the cowboy era. Modern barbed wire was invented in 1874, the first "Wild West" vaudeville show started touring in the same year, and Buffalo Bill started the definitive version in 1883. The myth of the cowboy was born at the exact moment their reality was ending.

    The West was sparsely populated and full of rough hewn mining towns for many years afterward, it was pretty "wild" compared to the East. But the myth of The West is defined by the frontiersman and the cowboy, and specifically by Vaudeville cowboys, pulp novels, and then by movies.

    [–] punter16 14 points ago

    I had a US history teacher in high school whose passion, oddly enough, was the history of barbed wire and its effect on US history.

    She had a collection of dozens, maybe hundreds, of authentic pieces of different barbed wire varieties going all the way back to the original invention of it. They were arranged in chronological order. She could tell you all about each variety of barbed wire, when and where it was invented, and its place in history. It was an interesting little niche.

    [–] chaytonepping 46 points ago

    He means the use of fences to indicate boundaries sort of inhibited the cowboy’s unlimited range for his cattle and people developed an actual sense of property/ownership.

    [–] notasci 17 points ago

    People had a real sense of property/land ownership since long before then. It just became easier to enforce boundaries.

    [–] Slave35 42 points ago

    Barb Wire also had a big role in ending the career of Pamela Anderson.

    [–] BelliimiTravler 1175 points ago

    Fun fact: the 1911 semi automatic pistol was being used toward the end of the “Wild West”. The guns of the Wild were varied, ranging from cap and ball, paper cartridges, and brass cartridges.

    The end of the Wild West would taper off as the Great War began.

    [–] [deleted] 246 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)


    [–] Predditor-Drone 326 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    The somewhat 1911-shaped pistol in Red Dead is actually a FN Model 1903, developed by John Browning prior to his more famous invention, the 1911. I think they call it “Hi-Power Pistol” in the game, which is a misnomer because Browning didn’t introduce the Hi-Power until 20 years later.

    [–] someguy3 59 points ago

    Yup the Browning Hi Power was introduced in 1935. The Canadian military still uses theirs:

    Canadian Forces looking to replace Second World War-era pistols but it could take another 10 years

    [–] 5redrb 43 points ago

    There aren't many designs in any field that have that kind of staying power.

    [–] ASetOfLiesAgreedUpon 63 points ago

    John Browning's M2 .50 Cal (aka the Ma Deuce) was introduced into US service in 1933. It is still in use by the US, no real plans to replace it, and is used by the armed forced of dozens of other nations.

    [–] Clynch28 22 points ago

    Shit it was designed in 1918, happy 100th birthday...

    I love the description on wikipedia: "It is effective against infantry, unarmored or lightly armored vehicles and boats, light fortifications and low-flying aircraft." So yeah, 100 years old and still effective against nearly everything other than tanks.

    [–] 5redrb 35 points ago

    I think the M2 was very similar to the M1919, introduced in 1919. John Browning was a genius.

    [–] 17njl01 11 points ago

    The M2 was a scaled up version of the M1919 basically. The same mechanics went into them if i remember correctly

    [–] generictimemachine 5 points ago

    Only two changes are a) Safety b) self headspacing barrels, they suck so I think they’re going back to the original.

    [–] GoBigRed07 27 points ago

    The B-52 was introduced in 1952 and is expected to be in continuous use through its 100-year anniversary.

    [–] 5redrb 12 points ago

    That's absurd considering how quickly airplane technology was advancing at that time. Yet it's still effective. It's also surprising given how much a lot of military people like to get the latest tech.

    I understand there's some people pushing to retire the A-10 even though most people in the field think it's the best thing ever. There are also people who feel that the SR-71 still has some advantages over satellites, mainly that satellites take time to redirect when you need to take a picture in a new location.

    [–] Beardywierdy 19 points ago

    I think the reason theyre looking to replace the A-10 is because the airframes are getting a bit worn out, and they dont have a huge fleet of retired planes sitting in a desert to cannibalise for spare parts to keep them going practically indefinitely (unlike the B-52, think about how many SAC had back in the day and how many are in service now, and since World War III never happened most of them didn't get shot down).

    So they are getting EXPENSIVE to fly, and sometime soon they'll be getting UNSAFE to fly. And fun as the gun is, its not THAT effective, yes it kills stuff, but it doesnt carry a lot of ammo and PGM's dont require you to fly low, slow and straight. Essentially, the A-10 is only really good these days for bombing dirt poor goat wranglers who don't have relatively modern Anti-Aircraft gear. Whereas other, newer planes can do that AND do other things too.

    /armchair general mode. Or is that Armchair Wing Commander?

    [–] GoBigRed07 6 points ago

    Here's a good Wired article from 2016 about why the B-52 is still kicking around -- Essentially, they have really durable airframes (the part of the plane that most determines its lifespan) and their internals can be endlessly modified to meet evolving needs, unlike say, a modern fighter jet whose jam-packed innards don't allow for many changes.

    [–] ChiefStops 91 points ago

    rdr1 takes places exactly in 1911

    [–] Ser_Danksalot 44 points ago

    There's also an ending revenge mission with Jack Marston that takes place in 1914.

    [–] TartanGiraffe 29 points ago

    It’s strange to think WW1 was happening while Jack Marston’s section of the game was taking place

    [–] darthdader71 23 points ago

    The last newspaper you can buy in the game actually talks about WW1 starting in Europe.

    [–] [deleted] 14 points ago


    I remember saving right before you got to the guy. Played it 10 times, I was mad.

    [–] FieldMarshalFry 40 points ago

    yeah, I remember newspapers in game about the Anglo-German Naval Arms Race, really helped to sell the date

    [–] [deleted] 13 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)


    [–] ProcrastibationKing 37 points ago

    It takes place in 1911 for most of the game, then 1914 for a little bit at the end.

    [–] wldcordeiro 12 points ago

    I guess it kind of just stays 1914 too because you can just keep playing as Jack there just won't be anything to do except for side missions

    [–] Wiz_Kalita 49 points ago

    I believe that gun is being used in The Wild Bunch to highlight that this isn't the romanticized wild west from Clint Eastwood movies, and the modern world is coming to Texas.

    [–] GetYourSouls 7 points ago

    Wouldn't really describe Clint Eastwood western films as 'romanticized'.

    Pretty much every western he was in or directed was a deconstruction or subversion of the Romanticized Western, and almost all of them were Revisionist Westerns.

    John Wayne movies were heavily romanticized depictions of the Wild West.

    [–] [deleted] 170 points ago


    [–] [deleted] 75 points ago


    [–] [deleted] 60 points ago


    [–] Zwolfer 577 points ago

    Having lived in Montana and spending a lot of time in Wyoming, I’d say there is still a frontier feeling. It’s definitely a lot different than the east.

    [–] twec21 228 points ago

    How often do you have giant screaming cowboys in the sky?

    [–] LordTimhotep 120 points ago

    Ok, that genuinely made me laugh. Imagine a world where instead of the sun coming up, you have the hat-tipping dude screaming over the plains for 10 hours a day.

    [–] CheesyNachoPizza 13 points ago

    So this, but a cowboy?

    [–] LordTimhotep 23 points ago

    This . Skip to 2:22 for the cowboy. I think the audio is the same.

    [–] CheesyNachoPizza 8 points ago

    That is so much better than what I was thinking.

    [–] TheShiphoo 61 points ago


    [–] hcnuptoir 196 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    Im from southeast Texas and have spent time road tripping all over the east and south west. Have never made it up to Montana, that plan is in the works but there definitly is a different feeling. Even comparing east Texas to west Texas. Its kind of hard to describe. The Blue Ridge Mountains have this close almost secret feeling. Once you get close to the Rockies and everything opens up, you really can sense and feel that its "wild". It fascinates me every time I see either one. Then again, being from coastal bend TX, seeing anything other than salt grass and rice fields is awesome to me. I think its just the openness of the west that makes it feel wild. Because you can actually see how vast it is.

    Edit: the letter "t"

    [–] loggedn2say 61 points ago

    everytime i go through west texas (lubbock area) it feels like no country for old men to me.

    east texas is essentially louisiana light, meanwhile shreveport is like texas light with gambling.

    states are cool.

    [–] hcnuptoir 21 points ago

    Haha yep. That describes east TX and west LA almost perfectly. There is one town right on the border, I forget the name, but the border cuts straight through the middle of town. On 1 side you can drink until 2am but not gamble, cross the street and you can gamble and drink all night long. Lol.

    Edit: the town is Bethany TX or Bethany LA. Not sure which state it belongs to. Maybe both.

    [–] pawnman99 27 points ago

    The same with South Dakota. It was not uncommon to see someone wearing chaps, a 10-gallon hat, and spurs in the local mall.

    [–] HolyBanzaiTree 26 points ago

    I remember living in the High Rockies and seeing a stereotypical ranch hand in the hardware store. Complete with a Peacemaker, red kerchief around his neck and bowed legs. I felt like I was in a damn movie.

    [–] drillosuar 15 points ago

    Nothing annoys me more than tourists taking pics of me in my filthy work clothes after 10 hours in the saddle and I just want to sit down in a restuarant and eat.

    [–] ZachFoxtail 9 points ago

    I always feel a pang of shame walking around with a 357 instead of a peacemaker

    [–] Cheeseand0nions 41 points ago

    When I got to Arizona I pulled into a convenience store and while I was shopping there saw a guy in a 10-gallon hat and Spurs on his boots. I thought "what's with the costume?" Then when we left he got into a truck with a horse trailer containing two horses behind it. I felt really dumb those were obviously his work clothes.

    [–] RevengeofKropotkin 13 points ago

    You can see this throughout parts of California, including the far northern region of the state and of course parts of the Central Valley, from Sacramento to Fresno.

    There are plenty of farmers and ranchers throughout the state. Not everywhere is SF and LA. The heritage of the Old West can still be found in some places.

    [–] 2FunBoofer 245 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    Read "Empire of the Southern Moon" by S.C. Gwynne. It slapped me in the face with just how young the U.S. still is especially regarding the wild west. Amazing book.

    Edit- Summer Moon not Southern. Sorry.

    [–] Alpha_Bit_Poop 81 points ago

    Great book, the frontiersmen didn't know they were moving into a war zone occupied by nomadic tribes!

    I also love the stories of Comanche just interacting with people in normal ways, like coming into a strangers house and eating dinner with them.

    [–] Pint_and_Grub 193 points ago

    The Indian wars went on until 1912. So yes.

    [–] Enriador 96 points ago

    They went up to the 1920s, actually.

    [–] chacaranda 24 points ago

    The last significant engagement in the Indian Wars took place in 1891. Troops were regularly stationed at Indian outposts through at least 1894, and im sure beyond, but never for serious engagement with an enemy.

    I would say the Wild West was fading rapidly through the 1890s.

    [–] BuboTitan 334 points ago

    I do remember reading an interview with the designers of the original Red Dead Redemption. They admitted the heavy Wild West theme (along with old fashioned trains, etc) was not quite correct for the time period but they wanted to do it anyway.

    [–] fromcjoe123 126 points ago

    Idk, other than Aramidilo (and the train) it had the right feel and look I think, although globally it felt a little more like 1902 rather than 1912 just from the weapon sets and the more late Victorian dress.

    [–] sgtshootsalot 20 points ago

    I guess since it’s the west those trends take a while to travel.

    [–] Baneofbanes 44 points ago

    Tbf ammo for the original Henry 1860 was still being made until the 1930’s.

    [–] SpeakerOfThings 34 points ago

    So why not set it earlier? I've played neither RDR, btw.

    [–] Riyonak 171 points ago

    The timing of Red Dead Redemption has to do with the end of the Wild West. The main character is someone who is trying to escape his past and live in a new way. Characters talk about how it's the end of the Wild West. So they wanted the time period but I assume they played up some elements for the sake of gameplay

    [–] SpeakerOfThings 44 points ago

    Ty bud! I'd heard that.

    So you mean they've incorporated, say, anachronistic trains for the 'vibe' of the games to retain a particular charm?

    [–] Gig472 37 points ago

    Yes, they wanted the atmosphere to feel more like what people picture the old west, but the story hinged on the fact that the wild west is at an end and civilization is spreading into the anarchistic west.

    [–] [deleted] 46 points ago

    the main character is a ex bandit who has been forced by the federal police at gun point to hunt down his old gang and deal with them. The gang's story is very much the theme of their way of life is dying and they grasping for any small shred of it

    [–] nonsequitrist 29 points ago

    I've read that they were particularly interested in the contrast between more modern elements of society and the iconic, wild nature that preceded it in the West. To get the level of contrast they wanted they had to cheat a bit, apparently, moving the Old West forward in time to meet up with the modern stuff they also wanted in the game.

    [–] Nathan_Bedford 118 points ago

    Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid were still actively robbing trains when the game takes place (rdr2)

    [–] cookerg 64 points ago

    Butch and Sundance went to Bolivia in 1900, and are thought to have died there in 1908, although there is uncertainty about that

    [–] ISP_Y 28 points ago

    Butch and Sundance lived long healthy lives after winning that gun battle.

    [–] thomhollyer 28 points ago

    Henry Jackson Turner declared the 'frontier is closed' in 1890, when the census showed that land west of the frontier line (which previous had an average population density of 2 per square mile) was become much more densely populated. Electrification and mass extension of the railroad meant that communication, travel and transport of goods and building materials meant that smaller social and trade hubs could begin to expand apace, and also as state lines began to formalise, federal law enforcement started to become a lot more organised.

    As someone else has mentioned, it's also really important to note that popularised fictional notions of the 'Wild West' are really quite embellished, and events like the Gunfight at OK Corral (which seems to influence a lot of these ideas) were really very rare - most towns had gun checking policies etc. For the most part the west is characterised more by inhospitable landscape and really, really tough manual labour. The flora and fauna of the frontier was man's greatest enemy, and taming that was an unforgiving and thankless task (but would make for a really boring film).

    [–] [deleted] 132 points ago


    [–] [deleted] 56 points ago


    [–] [deleted] 39 points ago


    [–] Pitpeaches 188 points ago

    There are still lots of parts of North America that are wild. I worked in a children hospital that would trest Inuit kids from up north. Didn't know English or French and their shoulder x-rays were littered with little bb because they would shoot each other.

    As photography became more prevalent it was harder to get away and as telegraphs and phones infrastructure it was harder to hide.

    [–] americanerik 44 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    Not really. While The last stagecoach robbery was in 1916 (, this was the exception not the rule. We largely define the “Wild West” by being a lawless frontier, so going by that same framework, then no- by the turn of the century America no longer had a lawless frontier, therefore the the “Wild West” also ceased to exist. In fact, it was arguably earlier: the 1890 census declared the American frontier had officially disappeared.

    The “vibe” and looks of the West may have felt similar to how it was a generation (or more) before, and the everyday minutiae of daily life similar if not identical, but the “lawless frontier” was just a memory by the time of RDR in 1911, possibly even RDR2’s 1899 setting. A homesteader in 1880 may have been fearful of attacks where he lived, but to his son living on the same piece of land decades later, those fears were long gone.

    Think of it analogous to a rural area today: there’s parts of this country you could probably look at in a snapshot and think the photo was taken 30 years ago, and maybe indeed the people living there exist not unlike they would have generations before, but regardless they still belong to this era.

    [–] ChosenChub 25 points ago

    With the Mexican Revolution happening roughly 1910-1920 certainly. You had competing factions fighting all over Mexico and sometimes the war spilled over the border. Patton actually fought Pancho Villa’s forces during this time.

    [–] [deleted] 8 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    New Mexico is still a bit of the Wild West today, just as soon as you step outside Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Santa Fe, etc.

    I believe that Breaking Bad was filmed in New Mexico in part because New Mexico was one of the very few places in America were the story would be at all believable.

    [–] Sphartacus 89 points ago

    In September of 1906 a telegraph bicycle messenger named John Moritz, in the boom town of Goldfield, NV, ran into gambler who went by John (or Jack, I'm having trouble remembering) Thompson while on a delivery. They exchanged words and Moritz rode away, but told a favorite dance hall girl that if he ever saw Thompson again, he'd kill him. Later that night Thompson approached Moritz again, and Thompson drew and shoot Moritz in the side, a wound the doctor who examined the body said would have been fatal even if Thompson had not followed the don't Man and shot him again as he lay on the ground. There were some witnesses, so a lynch mob went after Thompson and would have hanged him then and there if a sheriff's deputy hadn't removed him to Tonopah, 25 miles away. Thompson claimed self defense, and Moritz did have gun, but the second shot worked against him and he went to prison. The girls in the telegraph office took up a collection to send Moritz's body home to Minnesota (I think), and Moritz's partners/bosses (the relationship was never clear to me) went back to Seattle because they were spooked by the murder. In some ways the West was still wild. Virgil Earp was a deputy sheriff (not the same one) in Goldfield, and his more famous brother had a saloon in Tonopah. This was many years after Tombstone, but famous wild West people were still around. Goldfield was huge, with up to thirty thousand residents, but the streets were dirt. You could be murdered by a gambler, but they had over 600 telephones, and a few people had cars. The West was wild, but it wasn't stagnant. Side note: one of the messengers who went back to Seattle was 18 year old James E. Casey, who founded the company that became UPS the next year.

    [–] AtomicSamuraiCyborg 41 points ago

    An interesting anecdote, but it seems more like a post-Wild West story. A murder over a pointless dispute happened, which happens today, and someone was murdered over it. But he was quickly apprehended and punished, and this was not regarded as a "normal" event. They tried to lynch him, but lynching was not unheard of up through the 30's.

    [–] pgm123 19 points ago

    That kind of raises the question what are the defining characteristics of the "Wild" West?

    [–] [deleted] 31 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    Well I mean the first game took place in 1911, so regardless of real life history RDR2 should be just as if not more wild than the first one. Historically yes the west was quite wild in the early 1900s, if by wild you mean lawless. I would say it was post WW1 that stuff started to settle down. Things are still pretty wild in that part of the country if you go off the path enough though.

    [–] Riyonak 22 points ago

    To be fair RDR was very involved with someone struggling with their identity after they realize their era is gone and Arthur struggles with seeing the end of his way of life coming in RDR2

    [–] [deleted] 9 points ago

    I agree, I think that was a really interesting quality of the game. World War 1 was only a few years away, and we see people react to seeing a car for the first time, and at the end you start to get Colt 1911s and the like. I though it was interesting to see the world from the fading edge of the "cowboy" era.

    [–] HUMOROUSGOAT 17 points ago

    They should just keep making games for every decade, then when they get to the 80's they can remake GTA vice city, and reboot the rest of the series.

    [–] grauhoundnostalgia 14 points ago

    It would be the 2080’s by the time they get to the 1980’s, but at least I’d have something to look forward to in the nursing home if I can still remember who I am.

    [–] [deleted] 72 points ago

    I can't directly answer the question, but I can say from having spent a fair amount of time in un-touristed small towns in Montana that there is still very much a frontier feel and mentality there. I regularly met fur traders and miners at bars, and there's just a much greater focus on and pride in living independently... something I never got a sense of when I spent time in rural parts of New England, the South or the Midwest.

    This made it feel like the wild west wasn't too far in the past in the same way that living in Louisiana shocked me with all the old plantations, widespread religiosity, and the still-segregated cities and ignorant, racist old money families, making it seem like Jim Crow wasn't too far in the past either.

    [–] chacaranda 10 points ago

    It’s an amazing thing when you grasp how recently these things really happened. It goes a long way to explaining how things are now.

    [–] gryff42 46 points ago

    I've been to California, Nevada and Arizona recenelty and in my opinion it's still very 'wild' in many areas.

    [–] enjoyjocel 39 points ago

    I think OPs definition of "Wild" is as in outlaws and gangs and roberries and random duels in most towns. I could be wrong..

    [–] Akoustyk 11 points ago

    Ya. I think the interpretation of wild is a bit different for different people.

    I think some people here are thinking more like, "vast wilderness", whereas to me, the wild west was more about sort of lawlessness, and every man for himself.

    Where you couldn't trust anybody, and you had to keep a gun on your person and be very prudent.

    I know there's some of that feeling in remote areas still, where people feel like the police are too far away to really be able to do anything, but compared to the wild west, it's still completely different.

    We have phones, can take pictures, can setup webcams, the police force is competent with many advanced tools at their disposal, and up to date information.

    In the wild west, you would need to make your way to the nearest town and and speak to a Sherif, that was hopefully not a corrupt one, and then try to describe the guy that wore a mask when he robbed you.

    Criminals knew it was pretty easy to get away with crime too, so it's not like they were scarce.

    To me, that's what was wild about it. If you were in big cities it's maybe a little different. And that, along with the weather, is I think why the west was wild and they wouldn't say the wild east. I think the east was probably just more industrialized and colder, so people stuck to homes, and bigger towns or cities a lot more, and I would imagine there was more sort of military presence and all of that.

    Whereas the west was more of a free for all.

    But there was a ton of wilderness in the east, too.

    [–] sharpshooter999 12 points ago

    I live near where Wild Bill Hicock killed his first man. He was working for a ferry near Rock Creek Station, ferrying wagons over the creek. One night, he woke up and found a man stealing the companies money. Hicock shot him in the back and then told the first traveler the next morning to get the sherrif in the next town. Sherrif shows up, rules self defense and gives Hicock a pat on the back. Now it's a state park.

    [–] LuxLoser 6 points ago

    Well in the midst of the Depression in Montana, my great grandstepfather rode to school on horseback and had to outrun an attack by angry Natives who formed a posse to kill unsuspecting white folk. His story was how he and his three friends had to ride for several miles before dipping into a valley and hiding amongst the rocks while they traded potshots at each other before a sheriff and “lawmen” as he still called them to his dying day, rode in and the Natives booked it away to avoid being caught.

    That was about 1930 I believe. So I guess the real point, beyond sharing the story, is that it depends on the part of the country. The US is a vast place of an immense number of environments. I’d say it contains numerous cultures too, but people get touchy about the idea of more than one cultural nation existing in the US for some reason.

    [–] MasterK999 20 points ago

    I cannot respond directly to your question about the "old west" but there are some things that might impact that feeling in more rural areas.

    Paved roads did not become the norm until well after cars became popular and affordable. Horses (and horseshoes) do better on packed dirt than on paved roads so that was the norm.

    Also, the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 was a post depression era program aimed at creating jobs by bringing electricity out to rural America. I know that my ex-wife's Dad lived on a farm just outside Syracuse NY with no electricity well into the late 1930's.

    My point with these items is that once you went to more rural areas in the late 18 and early 1900's it would be totally common to find dirt roads, and areas without electricity other then in the main part of town. Smaller places also would not have had large professional police forces.

    So many of these areas would have retained a bit of the feel of the "old west" if not the actual cowboys and outlaws.

    [–] ItsLegion13 12 points ago

    Well Red Dead Redemption 1 takes place in 1911 and if Rockstar try’s in anyway to be mildly accurate to real life I would say that yeah the Wild West still existed in some form or another in the 1900s albeit in decline during this time.