Welcome back to GGAL!
How y’all doing folks? I myself have been mighty fine these past couple weeks. Why am I talking like this you ask? Well partner, it’s because I have been hooked on Rockstar’s latest masterpiece: Red Dead Redemption 2. It’s just been so much damn fun.
I kinda feel bad about how much I’m enjoying this game. After hearing about the whole 100 hour work week debacle going on over at Rockstar, I worried that if the game was a success it would justify this crunch culture. And it probably did. That sucks. The game itself, however, does not. Other that the admittedly clunky controls, the game is pretty close to flawless. It looks incredible with plenty of the gorgeous spaghetti western style vista shots that you may expect. But it’s not all deserts, the variety in biomes is really impressive with southern styles swamps and snowy mountains occupying the same map.
Whether it be robbing trains, commandeering stagecoaches or a little casual cattle rustling on the side, being bad has never felt so good. Honestly, there is something pretty self reflective about being an outlaw in this game (or maybe I’m just trying to make excuses for being an ass). The Van der Linde gang that you are a part of are trying so hard to pursue their freedom and escape the civilization that is taking over the frontier. But no matter how hard they fight, reality keeps on coming. In a weird kind of way that is what gaming is to me, a momentary escape from the realities of life.
But that’s not what were talking about today, so mopey philosophical GGAL can get lost! Today is for cowboy GGAL. And when I say cowboys, I mean the Cochise County Cowboys. Who in tarnations are they? Well wonder no more, here are 5 facts about them.
!!!!!!! SPOILER WARNING!!!!!! IF YOU HAVE NOT PLAYED RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2 BE WARNED!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1) The movie Tombstone
This famous gang made many notable big screen appearances but one of the most well known (and my personal favourite) was in the movie Tombstone. The gang were portrayed as wearing red sashes to identify themselves (fabulous but unfortunately untrue). For the movie, keys cowboys were portrayed by actors such as Michael Biehn and Powers Booth and were the antagonistic foils to the hero Wyatt Earp, played by Kurt Russell. If you have’nt yet had the chance to watch my favourite ever western movie, then I highly recommend that you do, here is my favourite scene to give y’all a little taste:
2) The were cattle rustlers
The is a mission relatively early on in RDR2 that involves you and a partner stealing some sheep. As the sheep are being escorted across the prairie, you scare off the guards and bring the sheep into market yourselves. This is pretty much what the Cowboys did in a nutshell. The would go across the boarder into Mexico, stealing some cattle (mainly cows… get it) and then bring them back into the United States to sell. So yeah, if you thought one of the most famous and feared cowboy gangs of all time gained their infamy for robbing trains, holding up banks or pillaging villages… you’d be wrong. They stole cows. That’s what they did.
3) They didn’t shoot the sheriff (but they did become the deputies)
There is a whole chapter of RDR2 where the Van der Linde gang infiltrates a town by smooth talking the local officials. The result of this is that several members of the gang being made deputies for the town (of course things do end up in flames but that’s neither here nor there). Now, the Cowboys’ found themselves in a very similar situation. Under Tombstone’s sheriff at the time, Johnny Behan was a sympathiser of the Cowboys. After a posse of lawmen lead by Wyatt Earp had begun to start killing off Cowboys, Behan decided to enlist several gang members as deputy sheriffs. Talk about being in bed with the enemy.
4) The Government got involved
The Dutch Van der Linde gang spends a great deal of the game attempting to escape the clutches of Agent Milton and the Pinkertons (old timey Government boogeymen men). This struggle represented one of the key themes of the game: lawless free spirits vs the bureaucratic civilization. And as much as we can root for the idealistic dreams of Dutch and the gang, we know what is destined to happen. We know what America became and the Wild West is nothing more than a part of American folklore. The Cowboys’ were faced with a similar problem. Their relationship with the federal government was never very healthy but after 1882, President Arthur gave powers to the military that essentially enabled them to interfere in local matters and crush the Cowboys for good…
5) And like that… there gone
In the end, the military never needed to get involved. After the death’s of several high profile gang members, the terrifying group that was the Cowboys simply vanished. Before 1882 had come to a close, the gang had mostly just dissipated. No incredible blaze of glory, no shootout to the death. The end resembled a tumbleweed blowing across the desert, and I guess that’s fitting; just ask Dutch Van der Linde.
End of the road
So there you have it, a short history of a real life cowboy gang not unlike those that we see in Red Dead Redemption 2. So have you played Red Dead, or maybe even watched Tombstone, do you see the parallels? It’s always fun to hear what y’all think. Anyway, that’s enough from me, i’ll be wandering off into a sunset, so you take care now. Until next time.