The Real Wild West: A Photographic Exploration of its Untold Stories

March 29, 2024

The mugshot of Goldie Williams after her arrest for vagrancy in Omaha, Nebraska in 1898

History books tell us a simple story about the old west. There are tales of cowboys, Native Americans, and law west of the Pecos... but it's not the whole story. These beautifully colorized photos tell the real story about the wild west.

These snapshots of gunslingers, lawmen, and '49ers on the search for gold will show you what the history books never could. Look closer... in each photo you'll find an entire life story full of ups and downs.

Each rare, colorized photo collected here has the ability to transport you back to one of the most beloved eras of America... when the west was still being won. Keep searching and discover the true story of the old west.

source: history nebraska

This may be the greatest mugshot ever taken. On January 29, 1898, the five foot tall and 110 pound Goldie Williams (aka Meg Murphy) was busted for "vagrancy" while in Omaha, Nebraska and she's more than willing to give the police a piece of her mind. It's not clear what "vagrancy" actually means but it looks like she'd been arrested before.

Take note of Goldie's feather hat and gorgeous overcoat, was she actually a vagrant or was she up to something else. Her arrest records sat that her left index finger was broken and she had a cut below her right wrist. Whatever happened that night, she wasn't happy about it.

A King Of The Plains, Circa 1898


This fine cowboy is a piece of art first produced for a postcard in the late 1800's. Cowboys like this one have long been a popular subject in art, capturing the imaginations of artists throughout America. One of the earliest depictions of cowboys in art can be found in the work of Frederic Remington, a renowned artist who specialized in capturing the rugged, adventurous spirit of the American West. His iconic sculptures and paintings of cowboys on horseback, often engaged in dangerous activities like roping or hunting, helped to define the image of the cowboy in popular culture. Other notable cowboy artists include Charles M. Russell, who also created realistic portrayals of cowboys and their day-to-day lives, and Georgia O'Keeffe, who took a more abstract approach to capturing the essence of the West.