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 The American Cowboy

38. The American Cowboy

    The cowboy is the hero of many movies. He is, even today, a symbol of courage and adventure. But what was the life of the cowboy really like?

    The cowboy's job is clear from the word cowboy. Cowboys were men who took care of cows and other cattle. The cattle were in the West and in Texas. People in the cities of the East wanted beef from these cattle. Trains could take the cattle east. But first the cattle had to get to the trains. Part of the cowboy's job was to take the cattle hundreds of miles to the railroad towns.

    The trips were called cattle drives. A cattle drive usually took several months. Cowboys rode for sixteen hours a day. Because they rode so much, each cowboy brought along about eight horses. A cowboy changed horses several times each day.

    The cowboys had to make sure that the cattle arrived safely. Before starting on a drive, the cowboys branded the cattle. They burned a mark on the cattle to show who they belonged to. But these marks didn't stop rustlers, or cattle thieves. Cowboys had to protect the cattle from rustlers. Rustlers made the dangerous trip even more dangerous.

    Even though their work was very difficult and dangerous, cowboys did not earn much money. They were paid badly. Yet cowboys liked their way of life. They lived in a wild and open country. They lived a life of adventure and freedom.



1. What did cowboy symbolize?
a. Calmness
b. Aggressiveness
c. Adventure

2. Why did cowboys get their name?
a. Because of the place, where they lived.
b. Because of their occupation
c. Because of their ideas

3. What does a cattle drive mean?
a. A trip with the cattle to the railroad.
b. A trip with the cows by the car.
c. A trip to another house with cattle.

4. Why did cowboys bring eight horses with them?
a. Because their way was too long.
b. Because they had very bumpy roads.
c. Because they wanted to be cool.

5. How did cowboys mark their cattle?
a. With a special cloth
b. With a special necklace
c. With a burnt mark

6. Why did people become cowboys?
a. Because of money.
b. Because they wanted people respect them.
c. Because of the cowboys’ way of life.

7. What is the synonym for the word ‘safely’ (paragraph 4)?
a. Noiselessly
b. Securely
c. Regularly
d. Usually

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