Please note that the commentaries on this cigarette card series discuss prevailing attitudes in Britain toward the peoples of the British Empire in 1927 and, thus, can reflect the often-racist opinions of the time. In reading them, you are invited to consider how attitudes and communication on questions of race and nationality in Britain have changed in the years since and continue to change.
Like the Australian stockman (object 2011.45.4), the cowboy was a legendary figure for his "taming" of the Imperial wilderness. In the late nineteenth century, cowboys drove vast herds of cattle from pasture to slaughterhouse across the great Canadian Plains. By 1927, however, the land had been partitioned, the Native inhabitants forced onto small reservations and the cowboy was already a legendary Hollywood figure. Touring "Wild West Shows" preserved the heroic image of the cowboy - whose lives were, in reality, often violent, unpleasant and short - to new generations of British children.