When I was a child, westerns were extremely popular in both the television and at the movies. Cowboys were good (especially if they wore a white hat), Indians were mostly bad, Easterners were idiots and fops, and bankers (who were sometimes Easterners) were evil. That in a nutshell is the iconic and idealized version of the west, and it perhaps carries a tiny nugget of truth along with a great lump of mythologizing.
Most importantly in the West of the imagination is the cowboy, that lone figure battling against the forces of nature and the encroaching civilization (darn those Easterners). Armed with a gun and a moral code, bringing law to the lawless frontier, whether it likes it or not.
Here’s a bit of art distilling the essence of the west into a single existential cowboy. This art resides at the Santa Fe airport, and I am not entirely sure what it means.
Cowboys have to have someone to fight and overcome, so how about a studly Indian. This guy did not waste his time making arrows and such, he looks as though he hit the gym and worked out everyday.
Every cowboy and Indian needs a horse. The one the Greeks used to fool the Trojans was not nearly as splendid as this one.
Lest we forget that there were others inhabiting the West, here are some Mariachi ghosts to round out this small tour of icons.