40 Unsettling Photos That Show The Dark Side of the Wild West

Historical |

The Old West was a time of adventure and excitement. It was an era of expansion as migrants traveled across the country to start a new life in unknown land. Though the idea of settling out in the great unknown can be thrilling, it can also come with its set of dangers and challenges, which many settlers discovered the hard way. Although life was extremely difficult during the 19th century, there was still moments of success. Events such as the California gold rush helped usher in wealth and opportunity to settlers. Towns were being built, saloons became popularized, and dance halls were taking its roots.

Of course, though Hollywood likes to romanticize the Old West, it can not be denied that there was definitely a dark side that loomed over the wild frontier. With free land for the taking, everyone was in competition with one another as they fought for the riches that they were promised if they were to set out into different territory. This not only caused tension with each other, but also with the Natives, who were forced out of their land in order to accommodate the foreigners who invaded their homes. Violence erupted, wars began, and, as a result, many lives perished. Poverty was everywhere, disease ran rampant, and Nature wreaked havoc over the land that was promised to be filled with nothing but bounty. In order to make it in such dangerous conditions, many had to resort to drastic means of survival. Robbery was common, crime was constant, and outlaws were created. Bandits became legends and some were even considered heroes. All these reasons and more is what helped change the new frontier into what is now known as the Wild West.

Though the Wild West is now greatly admired and celebrated as an ideal of the American lifestyle, it is also a period in history where chaos reigned and injustice was an everyday occurrence. Take a look at how the great West, which is often boasted, is actually an era with a horrible dark side.