Were These Cowboys Real or Fictional?



By: Heather Cahill

6 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons by Russell Lee

About This Quiz

Most cowboys rode in the American West if they were real people. Characters might not have. In the real world, we're restricted to the down-to-earth type of things while fiction allows us to explore possibilities and what could have been. For cowboys and cowgirls, days were typically spent on a farm or riding horses—sometimes even participating in competitions or hanging out at the saloon. For the cowboys and cowgirls in fiction, life could be a whole lot more. Fictional cowboys are no stranger to the unknown, for example.

Often, real and fictional cowboys have a lot in common. In some way, they're often both tied to horses, and most can be considered as overall great people. They often share the same homes and travel on the same land. Sometimes. fiction can imitate real life where real cowboys might show up in stories or movies. These cowboys often left behind stories and legacies worthy of being told. Many real cowboys owned their own ranches where they lived and worked on a day-to-day basis.

So, do you think you know your cowboys well enough to remember if they really lived, or if they were made up? You'll have to prove your knowledge by taking this quiz!

After being freed from slavery in the Civil War, Bose Ikard became a cowboy. Do you know if he was real?

Charlie Goodnight was a respected rancher who employed Bose Ikard after he was freed from slavery. Bose quickly became Charlie's right-hand man who he knew that he could trust and rely on. He had so much faith in Bose that he even asked for his help outside of ranching.


A great shot with a gun, was Tom Doniphan a real cowboy or was he a character?

Tom Doniphan is the iconic cowboy from "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance." The legendary cowboy was played by the equally legendary actor, John Wayne. Do you remember which character shot the infamous Liberty Valance?


Nat Love called himself "Deadwood Dick." Was Nat a real cowboy or was he made up?

Over the years, many people took and used the name "Deadwood Dick" due to it being the name of a fictional character as well. Nat Love was an African-American who was self-taught in many activities that he participated in.


A true rancher at heart, Burton Mossman sure knows how to handle cattle. Was he real or not?

Burton Mossman was known for his talents of managing cattle and the ranch. He even went to great lengths when cattle were stolen. You wouldn't want to see him riding up to you if you had stolen cattle from him, as he would do what he needed to make sure that he got them back.


BraveStarr took the wild west and made it futuristic. Was he real or fictional?

BraveStarr was from Texas, but not in the Texas we may think of. Instead, this Texas was in space and fittingly named "New Texas." BraveStarr was also capable of calling on spirit animals, uniquely enough.


This bronco rider is named Casey Tibbs. Do you know if he is a real cowboy or a fictional one?

Casey Tibbs was a champion in the world of bronco riding and for good reason. He was smart about the way that he rode a bronco, trying to match the rhythm of the bucks. It paid off, as he is known to be one of the greats in the sport.


Starting his life out as a cowboy, Charles Colcord became a man of the law when he got older. Can you figure out if he was a real cowboy or not?

Charles Colcord can be found in the Oklahoma Hall of Fame for his historical imprint that he left on the state. He was also quite well-known as a business man and jack-of-all-trades, owning businesses in many different industries throughout his life.


This cowboy simply went by the name the "Man with No Name." Was this secretive cowboy real?

The Man with No Name was played by Clint Eastwood in a few different movies. Of course like all great characters, he had many different nicknames. It may be safe to say that in that case, he does in fact have a name!


This marshal had his life turned upside down shortly after marriage. Was Will Kane a real person?

Will Kane was ready for retirement until trouble came knocking on his door. He was a cowboy in the town of Hadleyville in the movie "High Noon." In the end, he finally got to give up his badge.


This woman, Charley Parkhurst, was actually thought to be a man by most. Do you know if she was real or fictional?

As many thought that Charley was a man, she got to do many things that women at the time were not allowed to do. She got the right to vote, and she was also held in high regard by those that she knew for her talents in working with horses.


Chuck Roberson is both a cowboy and an actor. Was he real or fake?

Chuck Roberson was a real cowboy who also played in movies such as "Sign of the Pagan" and "The Scalphunter." Before becoming the actor he was, he lived on a ranch where he learned the ropes on being a cowboy.


Known for wearing his famous mask, can you tell if The Lone Ranger is real or fictional?

The Lone Ranger is one highly respected cowboy, but he was never a real person. He, in fact, was another cowboy who got his start on a radio show, before the character was later transitioned to television.


A cowgirl who is mainly a bounty hunter, is Tallulah Black a real or fictional cowgirl?

Tallulah Black is a fictional cowgirl from the DC Comics universe. One unique feature that makes Tallulah more recognizable is the fact that she is missing an eye. She's also extremely talented with a gun as any true cowgirl is!


Conrad Kohrs was a cowboy in the American West, but he was not actually from America at all. Can you tell if he was a real person or a character?

Conrad Kohrs came to America from Denmark and got to work right away. Becoming a successful businessman eventually led him into ranching and purchasing cattle for his butcher shop.


Woody is not only a famous cowboy, but also a credible sheriff. Is he real or fictional?

Woody is one of the most popular cowboys ever created. He belonged to a little boy named Andy, and he was friends with most of Andy's toys. As the sheriff, he was the toy in charge of all of them.


Is Doc Scurlock, a cowboy who later turned into an outlaw, real or is he a character?

Doc Scurlock was a cowboy until he lost a few friends of his. After becoming angered and upset, he turned on his job with John Chisum, another important cowboy, and became an outlaw. But the man who was once good turned bad once again, only to become a nice person later in life for yet another time.


Connie Douglas Reeves is one of the oldest cowgirls on the planet. Did she really exist or only in the books?

Connie was 101 years old and was the true embodiment of a cowgirl. Even at her age of 101, she still managed to get out and ride her horses. Unfortunately, this was also how she passed away.


This rootin', tootin' cowboy always went after rabbits. Can you tell if Yosemite Sam is real or fictional?

Yosemite Sam is the famous cowboy from the Looney Tunes. When he says something, he means it! Although he's not the nicest cowboy ever, he sure is lovable nonetheless. He made his first appearance in the mid 1900s.


This cowboy, Earl W. Bascom, was also a talented painter. Is he a real person?

Earl W. Bascom wasn't just a real American cowboy, but he was also a Canadian cowboy as well. Anyone who rides in rodeos today has a bit of a connection to Earl, who invented the hornless bronc saddle that is still used today.


A respected sheriff, Frank Canton was also an outlaw at one time. Was he a real or fictional cowboy?

Frank Canton is a cowboy, turned outlaw, turned sheriff. He was put into the position of becoming a sheriff when he proved himself in Wyoming. He was also part of the famous Gold Rush.


This cowboy apparently loved to eat dynamite. Do you know if Pecos Bill is real or not?

Pecos Bill isn't as well-known as some other cowboys, but he first appeared in the early 1900s. One book that he was in was called the "Saga of Pecos Bill." Did you know that he had a snake named "Shake"?


Another cowboy who took the role of sheriff, was George Scarborough a real of fictional cowboy?

When George Scarborough became a sheriff, he took part in some famous cases. If you know the name Pearl Hart, then you may know that George's time as a gunman allowed him to play a large part in her arrest.


A cowboy of the American West, John Ware is also an icon in Canada. Was he a real person or out of someone's imagination?

John was a highly respected cowboy who was incredibly skilled with animals. He was also extremely talented when it came to handling cattle. He set quite an example for cowboys who came to try the rodeo for themselves after him.


Associated with Tallulah Black, was Jonah Hex a real or made-up cowboy?

Jonah is a fictional cowboy within the same universe as Tallulah Black. The two had a relationship within the DC Comics universe, and Jonah has been part of many different groups and tribes throughout his history.


Bill Pickett is an African-American cowboy that did his fair share of riding bulls, but do you know if he is a real person?

Bill Picket was a real-life cowboy that was well-known for his skills in bull riding. In fact, he is the inventor of steer wrestling, something that is still practiced today. Next time you're watching the event, possibly even at the Calgary Stampede, think of this legendary cowboy.


This cowboy has an amputated leg. Is Hopalong Cassidy a cowboy from real life, or is he made up?

If you're wondering where Hopalong Cassidy got his name, it's due to his physical impairment. This cowboy originated in books by Clarence E. Mulford, but since then the character has been portrayed in many other medias also.


Oliver Loving is known to be one of the most highly-respected cattle ranchers of the American West. Was he made up or real?

Oliver Loving is famous for his partnership with Charles Goodnight, from which they founded the Goodnight-Loving Trail. This trail was important to the cattle drives which was its main purpose. It went through multiple states, and it has even been mentioned in many songs.


This cowboy hung around with Buffalo Bob Smith quite a bit. Is Howdy Doody real or fictional?

Howdy Doody was the lovable puppet that starred on the television show of the same name. You might be surprised to find out that the original Howdy Doody was played on the radio, but still by Buffalo Bob Smith.


You might "marvel" at the thought of this character. Do you know if the Ringo Kid was real?

The Ringo Kid was a Native American cowboy who found himself in a bit of trouble throughout his life. The comic book that he was in only had around a three-year run, and it was part of the Marvel Comics universe.


John Chisum had an array of ranches throughout the land, but do you know if he was real or fictional?

John Chisum was a smart businessman who did what he could to make sure that his ranches were running smoothly. You don't get the nickname "Pecos Valley Cattle King" for nothing. He knew how to run a proper ranch and expanded them throughout the area.


John Marston is a cowboy who once rode with a gang called the Van der Linde gang. Was he real or fictional?

John Marston is a cowboy character from the video game "Red Dead Redemption." Just like many others, John dreamt of being a rancher in the games rather than the outlaw that he once was.


Although she's considered a cowgirl, Annie Oakley was known for her sharpshooting skills. Do you know if she was real or not?

Annie Oakley was a real cowgirl who was extremely talented with a rifle. Over her sharpshooting career, she hit all kinds of targets, including a dime. You don't earn the title of "sharpshooter" without having skill!


This cowboy goes by the name Buffalo Bill, and he knew how to put on a show. But can you tell us if he was real or fictional?

When many think of the American West, Buffalo Bill is the man who comes to mind. His early life is what shaped him into the celebrity that he eventually became, starting his own performance show, "Buffalo Bill's Wild West." People who were able to catch the shows also saw the talents of Annie Oakley as well.


Jake Lonergan is not only a cowboy, but a believer in the unknown. Was he a real cowboy?

Fans of "Cowboys & Aliens" will know that Jake Lonergan is a cowboy from the movie. He was played by Daniel Craig and in addition to being a cowboy, he was also an outlaw. He sure had guts to face the aliens.


The unfortunate fate of Curly Washburn was death by heart attack. Can you tell if he was real or a character?

Curly Washburn wasn't a real cowboy, but he was instead a character from the movie "City Slickers." Jack Palance played the role, and he even won an Oscar award for his amazing performance.


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