|Looking as battered and ill-kept as the tintype that recorded their image, these two men seem to fit the bill of those who were often described as saddle tramps. With no fixed abode,
men such as these traveled for round up to round up, from odd job to odd job as the need directed or drove them. Often times these vagrant drovers flitted life away on both sides of
the law - working for a rancher one day and rustling his cattle or thieving his horses the next. Their entire net worth was carried on the back of their horses which were often as ill-kept
as their owners.
The taller, clean shaven man at left wears grubby, fringed buckskin trousers, a collared vest, checked collarless shirt and a dark very wide brimmed hat with one side brim turned
slightly up making it resemble very much a darker version of that worn by the character Curly Bill Brocius in the classic western film Tombstone.
The bearded man standing at right has an almost piratical look about him. The brim of his almost shapeless hat is turned almost completely up probably because it was the only way to
keep the brim from falling down over his eyes. His jacket has only the upper most button fastened in a manner popular at the time. He wears a boldly checkered shirt and has a
bandanna tightly knotted around his neck. Given his overall look with a change of setting he could easily be mistaken for a member of a Boer commando c. 1900.
Perhaps the most telling detail in this photograph are the men's boots, the toes of which are completely worn through due to age and hard use. Given their shabby and well worn look it
is hard to imagine how these men were able to scrape together the twenty five cents that this photograph would have cost them.
1/6th Plate Tintype (Ferrotype)