The Code of The West
"Cowboys and Heroes"
As I child, I loved Saturday morning! This was the day that I looked forward to all week. I would hurry through my morning chores, finish my bowl of “Tony the Tiger” cereal (it’s “GREAT, great!”) and turn on our family’s newly acquired television set.
it was Saturday morning in the late 1950s and life was good!
There were a lot of good programs such as: Annie Oakley, Wild Bill
Hickok, Zorro, Hopalong Cassidy, Lassie, Rin-Tin-Tin, Sky King, The Texas
Rangers, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and Dale Evans, just to name a few.
was in black and white back then and sometimes it didn’t come in very clear,
in fact, I thought that it snowed in the desert until we got a better antenna
with a rotary dial. I can still
hear the steady “click-click” it made as it turned the antenna to the
remote control had not made an appearance in the 50s, so we had to actually get
up out of our chairs and trek over to the television and change the channel
manually. As I turned the dial,
searching for a Saturday morning favorite, it didn’t take long to check out all
three of the channels that were available.
I wondered why they had all of those other numbers on the dial.
would immediately stop at the channel where I heard the familiar sound of the
“William Tell Overture” as the announcer would say:
fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty hi-yo Silver.
The Lone Ranger!"
his faithful Indian companion Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of
the plains led the fight for law and order in the early west. Return with us now
to those thrilling days of yesteryear. The Lone Ranger rides again!”
the programs were over it was time to pretend.
Sometimes I would braid my hair like Annie Oakley, saddle my horse, and
ride off down the trail. At other
times I would pretend to be Dale Evans, Queen of the West.
brother and I, along with the neighborhood kids, would imitate our heroes and
call each other, “kemo sabe” (meaning trusted scout) and make silver bullets
out of aluminum foil.
The programs on Saturday morning were mostly westerns and stories of rescue and heroism. Who can forget the Songbird flying through the sky as we heard, “Out of the clear blue of the western sky comes Sky King!” Whether it was Sky King, Lassie, or The Lone Ranger, the programs were wholesome and filled with a plot and a purpose. They taught us that crime doesn’t pay. The stories showed us through the heroic cowboys and lawmen that it was best to make good choices by having good morals and values.
Our heroes gave us “the code of the West” that all good cowboys and cowgirls followed:
Cassidy's "Creed for American Boys and Girls"
The highest badge of honor a person can wear is honesty, be mindful at all
Your parents are the best friends you have. Listen to them and
obey their instructions.
If you want to be respected, you must respect others. Show good manners in every
Only through hard work and study can you succeed. Don't be lazy.
Your good deeds always come to light. So don't boast or be a show off.
If you waste time or money today, you will regret it tomorrow. Practice thrift
in all ways.
Many animals are good and loyal companions. Be friendly and kind to them.
A strong, healthy body is a precious gift. Be neat and clean.
Our country's laws are made for your protection. Observe them carefully.
Children in many foreign lands are less fortunate than you. Be glad and proud
you are an American
Autry's "Ten Commandments of the Cowboy"
Lone Ranger's Creed
believe that to have a friend, a man must be one.
That all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.
God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself.
being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for
that which is right.
a man should make the most of what equipment he has. That "this government,
of the people, by the people, and for the people," shall live always.
men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.
sooner or later...somewhere...somehow...we must settle with the world and make
payment for what we have taken. That all things change, but the truth, and the
truth alone lives on forever.
believe in my Creator, my country, my fellow man.
Roger's "Rider's Rules"
Be neat and clean.
Be courteous and polite.
Always obey your parents.
Protect the weak and help them.
Be brave but never take chances.
Study hard and learn all you can.
Be kind to animals and care for them.
Eat all your food and never waste any.
Love God and go to Sunday School regularly.
10. Always respect our
flag and our country.
aspect of many of the western programs was the singing cowboy.
A campfire wasn’t complete without a cowboy singing a song as he
strummed his guitar. Gene Autry,
Roy Rogers, and The Sons of The Pioneers were just a few of the great cowboy
the years, the morals and values of our childhood heroes carried us through. The children of the 50s are now grandparents who still
believe in “the code of the west” and it has served them well through
troubles, illnesses, and wars.
Rogers’ cowboy prayer still echoes in our hearts:
I reckon I’m not much just by myself,
fail to do a lot of things I ought to do.
Lord, when trails are steep and passes high,
me ride it straight the whole way through.
when in the falling dusk I get that final call,
do not care how many flowers they send,
all else, the happiest trail would be for YOU to say to me,
“Let’s ride, My friend” Amen
I wish we never had to say good-bye to the kind of programs that motivated children and all of us to be better people. Hopefully, child and cowboy will meet again so I won’t say good-bye, I’ll just sing…
Trails to You"