As I walked out in the streets of Laredo
As I walked out in Laredo one day,
I spied a poor cowboy, all wrapped in white linen
All wrapped in white linen and cold as the clay.

"I see by your outfit, that you are a cowboy."
These words he did say as I slowly passed by.
"Come sit down beside me and hear my sad story,
For I'm shot in the chest, and today I must die."

These lyrics are from the classic cowboy ballad
The Streets of Lerado which was written around 1910 and made famous by cowboy singers such as Marty Robbins. The song, besides
giving this section of the website its name, references the unique attire and tack that characterizes our popular conception of what a cowboy should look like.

This young cowpuncher wears the front brim of his hat turned up in the rakish style adopted by working cowboys and often depicted in works of noted Western artists like Charles M.
Russell and Frederick Remington. He lacks the commonly seen bandanna but wears a laced up embroidered shirt and corduroy vast. His probably silver pocket watch his hidden in a
vest pocket but its presence is given away by the attached watch chain and fob. Details of his trousers and boots are hidden behind a pair of fringed shotgun chaps. These distinctive
pieces of cowboy garb where worn on the legs to protect the cowboys lower extremities while ring through brush while out on the range and came in three basic styles. The narrow
leather shotgun style shown here fitted the legs relatively closely. So-called batwing chaps were also made of leather but were cut with much wider, looser fitting with legs that tended
to flap like wings when worn on horse back. The third type were often called "woolly" because they were made from hair on leather, most often from long haired stock such as angora
sheep or possibly buffalo.

At some point in this tintypes long history someone - probably a mischievous child - decorated the image with pencil scribbles. A gentle attempt was made to remove these marks but
the likelihood of damaging the surface of the image in the process resulted the decision to leave the marks alone.    

1/4 Plate Tintype (Ferrotype)
Unknown Photographer
United States
c. 1870s