22 / CHRONICLESnLove and Death in the American West by Odie B. Faulkn”Let sixteen cowboys come sing me a song. . . .nFor I’m a young cowboy and I know I’ve donenwrong.”n—Anonymous, “The Cowboy’s Lament”nThe Real American Cowboy by JacknWeston, New York: Shocken Books;n$19.95.nDaughters of Joy, Sisters of Misery:nProstitutes in the American West,n1865-90 by Anne M. Butler,nUrbana: University of Illinois Press;n$19.95.nThe American West has become anplace of simultaneous myth andnreality. There is a West where zestynyoung men mounted on noble steedsnoccasionally rounded up some cattle tonbe driven to market, but for the mostnpart these cowboys never seemed tonwork. Instead, they sat in saloons withnwomen of easy virtue but hearts ofngold. These Westerners did little exceptndrink, gamble, and act as witness-nOdie B. Faulk is a distinguishednSouthwestern historian and ancontributing editor to Chronicles.nes to the violence which was “as Americannas apple pie.” The towns of thisnAmerican West featured shoot-outs atnhigh noon between good guys wearingnwhite hats and riding white horses andnevil men wearing black hats and ridingnblack horses.nThere also is a West where entrepreneursnin cattle risked their investmentndollars to build ranching empires thatnprovided beef for a hungry nation.nSimultaneously they gave employmentnto thousands of young cowboysnwho came to the occupahon fillednwith romantic delusions that they werengoing to sleep under azure skies andnbeside limpid streams, sing songs tonlowing cattle, and ride horses thatnwould reciprocate their riders’ love andnunderstanding. Newly minted cowboysnquickly learned that horses couldnbe mean, shifty-eyed little brutesnwhose major goal in life was to kill ornmaim their riders, that cattle werenstupid to the point of self-destruction,nand that the life of the cowboy wasnnnshort, hard, and dangerous.nThese cowboys and cattlemen of thenreal West were genuine pioneers whonfought loneliness and isolahon, thensearing heat of summer, the freezingnblizzards of winter, and early deathnfrom the unremitting toil demanded tontransform the region from a frontierninto a vital part of the United States.nIn the earliest stages of settlement,nmost people moving to this AmericannWest were young men willing to risknthe privahons either because of romanhcndelusions or else because theynsaw opportunity for self advancement.nWhen these young, lonely men did getnto town, some of them sought solacenfrom prostitutes, whose life was equallyndifficult, for they existed in a worldnwhere they served both as victim andnvictimizer. For the most part suchnwomen were hardened and cynicalnsouls, who had chosen this life out ofneconomic necessity. They lived inncheap shacks cluttered around the saloons.nThey had no form of medicalninspection, and venereal disease wasnrampant. Because of the amount ofncheap liquor they consumed, thendrugs many of them took, the diseasesnthey contracted, and their hard livingnconditions, they usually died young,nparticularly from pneumonia. Most ofnthese “soiled doves” had little compunctionnabout rolling drunks andnwere filled with contempt for theirncustomers; yet, some were surprisinglynhonest—and even gentle. In short,nthey were human.nIn the past, books about the AmericannWest also could be divided intonthe same two classes of myth andnreality—one with pasteboard charactersnparticipating in a morality play,nthe other reflecting a region of unremittingntoil and of economic contributionnto the building of America. Perhapsnbecause of our infatuation withnthe horse and all this animal has comento symbolize, thousands of books ofnboth kinds have been written aboutncowboys and cattlemen—with morenthan a few of them noting the prostitutesnin the saloons they frequented.nNow a third category should benadded to this list: books rehashingnknown facts but larded with sociologicalnand psychological jargon and moti-n